after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Living the Dream: Chocolate Sushi

with one comment

t says: Valentine’s Day.  What a rip-off.  All you want is a good meal with that special someone, but if you walk into a restaurant, you’re often faced with fixed price menus at ridiculous prices …  Well not g and me.  We have rebelled!  We’ve seen the crowds in restaurants offering Valentine’s Day fixed price menus and shout in triumph: “NEVER AGAIN!”.

So what did we do?

Sunday we went to Barbuzzo.  We couldn’t go on Monday because they were offering a special menu, too!  Good thing we got in a day early.  We’ve already talked about Barbuzzo before, so I’ll spare you the details.  Basically – it boils down to this:

The sheep’s milk ricotta and meatballs are still obligatory/compulsory selections – they’re that good.  The paccheri, we preemptively requested they cook a few seconds longer (last time was a little too al dente for us), and it came out perfect ; and this time it had a smoky flavor to it – very nice.  Our new dish of the evening was the gnocchi, and it was surprisingly good (it’s a very rich dish though, so be careful!), putting La Viola to shame (I like picking on La Viola’s gnocchi …).  Finally, the salted caramel budino, which I would not be surprised if it’s the easiest-to-make, highest-profit-per-serving dessert ever put forth by any restaurant ever, is just too good to not get.  Drawbacks?  For the love of all that is good and holy, please please please serve your red wines at the appropriate temperature!  The wine was actually getting cooler the longer it sit in the glass!  That alone could probably win them like another half-bell from Laban or something!

Then Valentine’s day continued on Monday.  We got an email from Tria that said something like “come and taste some 1999 Dom for $20”.  We had to go.  Why?  #1 – g likes bubbly.  #2 – g has never had Dom.  #3 – it’d be so cool to “go out for drinks before dinner” – very bawler.  #4 – we were going to get a bottle of ’99 Dom for our wedding (it was the year we started dating … awwwwww ….) but couldn’t justify spending that much cash at that time for something that really not too many people were going to drink/enjoy/appreciate (but we got a nice ’99 Veuve Rose that was awesome).  So it was destiny.  We rolled up into Tria and immediately ordered g a glass.  She liked it quite a bit!

If you notice, there’s another glass in the pic.  A short glass filled with a dark liquid.  That, my friends, is a glass of wine travesty.  Delicious, delicious sin in a glass.  It is a chocolate dessert wine.  Yes, there’s some Zin in there, but it’s clearly been adulterated with chocolate.  And it is so good.  It’s like an alcoholic Hershey’s syrup (but textured like wine – not like syrup).  g found it weird that her tongue wasn’t encountering a thick, viscous liquid when she took a sip.  I found it to be amazing.  I know that some people will read “Hershey’s syrup” and turn up their nose – but I happen to like Hershey’s syrup – it has all of those childhood memories attached – how can you not like it?  Granted, it’s not the best “chocolate” in the world, but I like to think of Hershey’s like “white chocolate”, i.e. I don’t consider it “chocolate”, I consider it its own thing.  Of course, the dessert wine was way too rich to drink a lot of (I left a third of the glass behind), but it was a nice treat before dinner: sushi!

That’s right!  The dream has been fulfilled!  Chocolate sushi (the name for the blog that I was championing before we … umm … “compromised” …)!  Basically, I was thinking it’d be fun if there was a restaurant or bar or hangout that specialized in two things I could really eat almost any time: chocolate and sushi.  But these two things don’t really “go” with eachother – one is pure and clean and fresh, while the other is decadent and rich and seductive.  Let’s face it – I’m never surprised if a sushi place only offers chocolate-free desserts (or, in the case of Kiss Seafood in SF, no desserts).  But tonight was a special night!  It was Valentine’s!  So I tried out the combination and consumed  a considerable amount of chocolate along with a considerable amount of raw fish, enjoying chocolate both before and after the sushi …

Whose sushi?  We went to Zama, which ended up being quite impressive.  Long story short (cuz this is turning out to be a long post): the decor is reasonable (a not too over-the-top combination of clean, modern, a splash of chic, and a twist of trying-too-hard).  The service was quite friendly, which we appreciated.  And, of course, the fish was very good (we got the sushi and sashimi combo for 2), and, just as important, the rice was very good, too.  Using the amount of soy sauce I use as a marker for how good the sushi/sashimi is (i.e. the better the food, the less the soy sauce), I can say that their sashimi and nigiri required none (their maki still needed a bit).  Very nice!

Zama also offered some pretty good desserts, too.  They had this “pick 3 for $10”, where you choose three little desserts from a list – it was like a little dessert tasting!  And a few of them had chocolate!!  In the end, the yuzu creme brulee was my favorite, giving a nice zesty flavor that was enjoyable.  The PB-chocolate-cake-and-crisped-rice was also pretty good, as now I wonder if anyone has ever made a 100-Grand chocolate bar, but replaced the caramel with peanut butter … mmmmmm …  Unfortunately, the green tea eclair kind of sucked, as the pastry was very hard … sorry Zama.

What were the bad parts of Zama aside from the eclair?  Actually, the big black eye of the evening was the ridiculous acrylic dish they served our sushi in.  g called it “a sushi corral”.   After she said it, I contemplated herding the sushi together into a group and making bleeting or mooing noises.  Man, that sucker was big, unwieldy, and ugly; give me one of those silly wooden boats any day.

But the memorable part of the dinner was the inadvertent entertainment.  The girl sitting at the table next to ours was hilarious.  Why?  Cuz she used her fingers.  Ok – now I want to say right away that I’m totally cool with people not using chopsticks.  Chopsticks are a weird instrument that not every human being is required to know how to operate.  I even know real live Asian people who can’t use chopsticks.  That’s totally fine.  This girl had a fork.  I’m down with forks.  I use them all the time.  But what was funny was not the mere fact that she was straight-up using her fingers, rather, the manner in which she was using them.  This was no, “oh, I’m being silly and funny and sneaking a piece of sushi in my mouth by using a pinching motion with my thumb and forefinger” … this was a fumbling around, using all five fingers, dropping pieces of sushi (she even dropped a piece onto her fork), dripping soy sauce everywhere style.  I guess it’d be like me … trying to eat spaghetti … without a fork …  Ok – maybe it doesn’t sound that funny as you read this, but we were there … and it was funny, damnit!

So kudos to Barbuzzo, Tria, and Zama.  A great Valentine’s day (actually, two days), with not a single fixed price in sight!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

16 February 2011 at 12:43am

One Response

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  1. rch: Sounds delicious–I loved Barbuzzo when we went. Your chocolate wine sounds like the chocolate raspberry port-type stuff my dad made. Similar idea, and unexpectedly tasty.


    16 February 2011 at 9:45am

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