Just recommended a book for a friend who wants to open a restaurant, become a chef not by apprenticeship but somehow his own way. That's really cool, also really hard.
A book by Tyson Cole the owner of Uchi, a restaurant in Houston and Austin. It is an inspiration that he sort of broke the taboo of Japanese traditions. Innovation on Japanese food is a destiny but also a risky plank. He walked the plank and there is Uchi (I am a Yelp'er foodie, love food, and this is my top 2 Japanese restaurants in the US, maybe the top top is Ikko in Orange County, and I live in San Francisco~). Tyson hasn't been to Japan for that long either. He definitely isn't the otaku nor the kaijin that are obsessed with Japan.
Here's your amazon link to the book.Uchi (bio, story, recipe)
I want to just say a few words about food. Chinese are obsessed with food, and from my friend's picture from Korea, gosh Koreans are obsessed too. Chinese even begin the greeting of daily life with a "Have you eaten? 吃饭了吗"
We Sichuanese Chinese will die for the best chili pepper and spice. We eat in the morning (2AM), throughout the day and at late nights. It is such fond memory to see people driving BMW and Benz to port at a street shack to eat that hot pot on a very very hot evening.
Food is what we die for. Food brings the peace that all nations so need. You may not like a nation but you may like their food. And there comes emotional struggles.
I would pay for a 30 dollar piece sushi but sushi is about more than that. Did you know that sush is sort of a fast food? It is a convenience food that was supposed to be eaten with fingers and that is why it is so portable and bento-style. Sushi boats are supposed to be pretty cheap in Japan. Yet Sushi is like a delicacy in the United States, even in Ukraine!
And interestingly, I used to hate sushi and raw fishes. Now I still can't stand bad Q sushi but will seek out the best. America changed that for me! Crazy indeed. Americans who are not supposed to know about sushi changed me and converted many. California roll is rather the introductory to the sushi ritual, and in fact the Japanese have reverse imported these into Japan~ gaku iinyu. Wow. Without the humble California Roll there wouldn't be a sushi me.
Any one discovered Mexican food via burritos? Invented in Texas I heard? I was shocked when I discovered that too.
And once I was in the Vatican, wanting a taste of the "Italian" coffee. I was so angry at the fact that a cafe nearby right at where we lined up was serving americanos to Americans. When I asked for <b><i><a href="https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&tbo=d&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS508US508&spell=1&q=macchiato&sa=X&ei=gOD2UI2AA4H7igKDqoCYDA&ved=0CDIQvwUoAA">macchiato</a> </i></b>I was first denied then had to wait 10 min. To be fair, I was this small Asian lady who discovered Caffe Grecco near the Spanish Steps, which I bypassed, and I skipped all the lines in Gucci. And the joy I felt when I learnt that Lord Byron and Goethe once sat in the same place<i>, oh the black marbles and the velvety benches</i>
We are the nation of Starbucks though~ Starbucks actually democratized coffee! Shocking social discovery indeed. Even the founders of Starbucks were so obsessed with the beans and <em>technical's</em>, but not making it drinkable and affordable. It was a gentleman's drink not an American drink. Starbucks in my pseudo economist eyes are American inventions of "affordable luxury". And that's why I love Starbucks, even though I am a local cafe girl: the Philz and neighborhood jewels: the names that I can't even remember
Food should be democratic. It should be open and tolerant. I do not like to be made stupid for having an adventurous heart to try. This American way of eating food is such a spirit that is so very American. As we are the land of many technical inventions, we are also the proud land of food discoveries and renovation. Dare I say I am proud of my country for that - for the food? Yes! And sometimes not so much when food is the cause of our No.1 illness.
A quick note about Yelp, a community that I so love. Its got minus'es : we yelp we can be annoying, you know like puppies can sometimes too. But gosh I love that it give people a voice. Think about it, before yelp there was not much consequence for terrible service and terrible memories. Memories from terrible food and restaurants can really haunt, after all my whole point is that - food is culture. And to me Yelp is like the voice of democracy of food. Hoping saying this will make people like yelp slightly more. And for yelpers to not be "yelp terrorist" and abuse their powers.
Food is culture. Food captures so many memories of grandma, neighborhood, local, innovation, and dream. Happiness by food, buy food for happiness. Inspired by my high school friend said many years ago: I would spend all the money I have on food. Yes it may be gone after you eat it, but it is soooooo good. And you need it, for your soul and body.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
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