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Sushi!
Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3598
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2004-03-10 3:30 pm   Permalink

This past weekend, a very important thing happened. I have a sushi place.

This was no simple thing. Upon moving to Southern California, I very quickly set out to find some good sushi places. I was quickly daunted -- you see, sushi places are everywhere here. Everywhere. Hundreds of places, I didn't know where to begin. I checked Citysearch, whose top places sounded a wee bit too chic for me -- dress codes & reservations needed far in advance, long waits for a seat, valet parking, "sushi nazis"... (Okay, maybe not too chic for me, but they didn't sound like the kind of place it would be practical to eat at once a week.) I was just looking for a reliable little place with GOOD sushi. Really good sushi. How can that be hard?

Rather than dive into the Citysearch listings, I opted to ask a couple of local fellows to take me to their favorite sushi places. The first place was awful -- my maguro looked and tasted like it was made out of a pink kitchen sponge. The second place was mediocre -- not offensively bad, but nowhere near good.

My experiences were so disheartening that I was afraid to try again. Looking at all the sushi places, and judging from my attempts to get tips from actual people who said they loved sushi (I should have known I was talking to the wrong people when I kept getting recommendations for all-you-can-eat sushi), I thought it would take countless more crappy meals before I would find a good place. It was so frustrating to want sushi so badly, see sushi places everywhere, and feel so helpless.

Then! Fortune! With my Mom visiting this weekend, we decided at the last minute that we didn't feel up to a trip to Trader Vic's and the Dresden Room, and we decided to try for sushi. I went back through the Citysearch listings one more time, but everything looked like it was going to be too dressy, or impossible to get in at the last minute on a Friday. Then, just as I was going to give up, I looked at the very last place on their top sushi list -- Echigo.

Echigo! Oh, sweet darling Echigo! I am so sorry it took me so long to find you! Echigo is fantastic -- even better than my favorite places in Seattle. The place looks iffy -- it's in a cruddy mini-mall, above a Pizza Hut of all things. When we got there, the place was totally dead, even on a Friday night. But ohhhhhh, the sushi was good (there is a sign on the wall -- "No California Rolls!"). Even better, this place is just down the street from me. Hurrah!

Now, I feel at home. I have a sushi place.

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Critiki - Ooga-Mooga - Humu Kon Tiki


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tikifish
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2720
From: Toronto,Canada
Posted: 2004-03-10 3:55 pm   Permalink

My favourite sushi is the kind that comes on the conveyor belt. I ate at some of theose places in Tokyo and they were great. I ate at one in South Africa too (where I had my first and last natto experience - eugh!). The conveyor belt craze has yet to hit Canada though...

 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2004-03-10 3:59 pm   Permalink

Humuhumu-

Buy this book:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1893329089/qid=1078958869/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/102-4009535-1473706?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

Hungry? is an indespensible guide to Los Angeles eateries, from burger stands to all types of international food. All the places are inexpensive, so you won't find Musso and Frank's in it. It's a must in my glove box on every trip I take to the L.A. area. Along with it's companion volume Thirsty?, which is a great guide to the bars of L.A.

I also use the Zagat guides frequently. I have discovered some great old steak houses by looking in the Zagat guide under the categories "Senior Appeal" or "Historic Interest". Sometimes the foodie lingo in Zagat irritates me, and their bar guides are useless to me (what about the quality of the drinks?), but sometimes they come in handy.

It seems like Citysearch has gone downhill recently. Instead of getting useful info sometimes it just gives you a huge list of restaurant names.
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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3598
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2004-03-10 4:04 pm   Permalink

I'm a sucker for the conveyor belts, too! They're also called kaiten sushi, but I don't know what that translates to. They were just hitting Seattle as I left; I heard there was a place that used little boats in a wee river instead of a conveyor belt, but I didn't get a chance to try it. The sushi wasn't the greatest, but it was so fun watching the food go around; I was eating at the new conveyor belt place in my neighborhood about four times a week by the time I left (I was working & living in the same neighborhood).

Natto is the only food I've ever had to actually spit out in a restaurant. I just couldn't stomach it, I tried really hard. Apparently little kids in Japan love it??

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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3598
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2004-03-10 4:05 pm   Permalink

Thanks for the tip, Jab! Weird Unc had recommended Counter Intelligence, and I see Amazon is running a special when I buy both. Score!

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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2004-03-10 4:23 pm   Permalink

There are a few boat sushi places in the Bay Area but some pieces go around and around and it makes you wonder how long it's been floating. I like my sushi extremely fresh.

There's a place I heard about in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle?) where you pick a live fish and they cut it and bring it to your table raw and it's still moving!
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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3598
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2004-03-10 5:00 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-03-10 16:23, thejab wrote:
There's a place I heard about in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle?) where you pick a live fish and they cut it and bring it to your table raw and it's still moving!



I never heard of that place! Maybe it was in Vancouver? Crazy, man! I don't know if I'd like my fish quite that fresh.

What sold me on the kaiten place I loved was that all the little plates had bar codes on them, and they were automatically scanned each time they made the whole circuit, which allowed them to easily pull stuff that'd been out there too long. I have no idea if they actually were good about this, but being able to sit there eating sushi while daydreaming about what a sushi tracking database might look like made me a very, very happy camper.

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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2004-03-10 5:22 pm   Permalink

Maybe a gong sounded when a piece had made the rounds a certain number of times?!
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tikichic
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 16, 2003
Posts: 256
Posted: 2004-03-10 5:44 pm   Permalink

Hey Humu!
As a long time sushi eater, I understand your plight. My favorite sushi restaurant that I've been going to for over 15 years is in Pasadena. Edokko @ 3589 E. Colorado Blvd. I can remember the days when we would wait over an hour just to be seated. Although the price has gone up over the years, I've never had a bad meal at Edokko. I typically go and stay in Pasadena twice a year just so I can go to Edokko and have my sushi fix!
Let me know if you ever try it!


 
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pablus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Posts: 2154
From: www.crazedmugs.com
Posted: 2004-03-10 7:41 pm   Permalink


Actually, Tampa has a little jewel called Yokohama in a strip mall in Brandon.

I know most of the great local haunts in SF and Oakland and have been in the orient many times as well... and this man from Okinawa is a true master of the art.
Why he's here I don't really understand - unless he just really likes malls and apartments.

It was a great surprise to me to find such fantastic sushi here in the area. Now if we only had a decent tiki-bar (besides mine), a decent liquor store and a decent Hapa Haole band, I might be smiling every day instead of just most days.



 
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Sweet Daddy Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2003
Posts: 1067
From: Edmonton
Posted: 2004-03-10 7:55 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-03-10 15:55, tikifish wrote:
The conveyor belt craze has yet to hit Canada though...



There's conveyor belt sushi in Edmonton (West Edmonton Mall) and Vancouver. Vancouver also has a place (Tsunami Sushi) with wooden sushi boats circling the sushi bar in a water-filled channel, and Banff has a similar set up with a large-scale model train.
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Because crap doesn't buy itself.

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Cultjam
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 21, 2002
Posts: 367
From: Phoenix, Arizona
Posted: 2004-03-10 9:56 pm   Permalink

I found the Sushi World Guide to be very useful back when my company allowed business trips. The author's favorites has been updated since but I enjoyed several places listed at the time. Matsuhisa has been a favorite for years. It was too trendy for me but it was worth it to see my boss freeze in awestruck surprise when Brooke Shields politely held the door for him.

I'd love a sushi bar with trains!
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Futura Girl
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 01, 2002
Posts: 933
Posted: 2004-03-10 11:34 pm   Permalink

Check this place out h.h.
Sushi Nozawa
11288 Ventura Blvd., (2 blocks west of Vineland Ave.), Studio City
(818) 508-7017
Notes: i'm not a big sushi eater myself, but i've heard this is one of the best in town. it's in a mini-mall, the signature roll is hand-roll (they don´t serve cut)
Chef Nozawa serves you what he feels like serving you. There is a sign that says ´Trust Me´ and i heard he kicks you out if you order a california roll.
made the cover of the New York Times

-------------
I also recommend Genmai in Sherman Oaks for their unusual non-sushi japanese fare.


 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2004-03-11 12:45 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-03-10 16:04, Humuhumu wrote:
I'm a sucker for the conveyor belts, too!



My first conveyor belt was in London, my most recent was Huumuu's in Seattle.

Ah, so many conveyor belts, so little time....
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My new book is "Destination: Cocktails": www.destinationcocktails.com.
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pablus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Posts: 2154
From: www.crazedmugs.com
Posted: 2004-03-11 03:29 am   Permalink


The conveyor belts always remind me of the "Laverne and Shirley" opening.

Not a fan of those, but I DO like the boats that float by that you select from.

I know where I'll be tonight.

BTW - I've never found a place I could stomach the disgusting flavor of sea urchin roe. I've tried it 10 times thinking I must be getting something prepared wrong but it's always the same "Look Ma, I'm licking the bottom of this harbor scow!" flavor.



 
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