When Julie and I met some 15 years ago, I was strictly a meat and potatoes kind of guy. Taco John’s was about as exotic as I got. In fact, she still laughs when she thinks of my reaction to her parents taking the whole family to a Chinese buffet for our engagement dinner.
Over time, however, she introduced me to lots of new dishes, styles and tastes. Some, like Chinese, remain a favorite of mine. Others (*cough* chicken spaghetti *cough*) not so much. Still, I’ll never forget the first time that we tried one of the most exotic dishes to the common Midwest American palate: sushi!
One rainy night in Epcot, we were debating what to have for dinner (and I can hear all my Disney pals shouting “You mean you didn’t have an ADR?!” No, we didn’t and sometimes we roll like that.) Since it was her birthday, Julie mentioned that she had always wanted to try sushi. Figuring that the worst thing is that I might have to grab a Mickey Bar a little later on, I said I was game. Off to Japan we trudged.
Most people are familiar with the hibachi style restaurant at the Japan pavilion in Epcot. Many don’t know that there is also a sushi place right next door (and fewer still know that this is a great place to watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth – drat, time to find a new secret spot!) We ventured into the dining room where we were graciously greeted and given menus. As two Iowans who had never tried sushi before, we had no clue what to order. Thankfully, our server was fantastic and made several suggestions.
I remember looking at Julie and her at me when we picked up our first piece of sushi and said, “Here goes!” I recall being amazed at the flavor and the texture of the tuna (yes, it was raw) and the rice. The soy and wasabi added additional flavor levels that made the whole package incredible. My only regret is that the portions are small and tend not to stick with you.
Since then, we continue to enjoy sushi as much as we can. Thankfully, many non-traditional sources now offer sushi such as super markets and megastores. Sure, you won’t get your most exotic types of sushi there, but you can get a quick fix.
Let me leave you with this thought: never be afraid to try something new, no matter how exotic or obscure the item is. Sure, there is a time for comfort food but there is also a time to try new flavors and types of food. Next week, I’ll share with you another one of my discoveries that the entire family (well, at least Joey, I have no idea if Lucas likes it yet or not) loves at well. Until then … stay hungry!