This post needs to start with a confession: I have had sushi three times in the past week. Some of you may consider that insane/lacking in nutritional normalcy. I consider it evidence that my husband loves me and that 2013 has taken an intense upswing. It’s lame that my absolute favorite food in the universe is fairly expensive/hard to make at home, but this week Groupon has saved the day. I love you, Groupon, with all my soy-saucy heart.
A few days ago, M and I had the best night ever: we got sushi take-out and watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi on Netflix. We were out of sake, so obviously he had to make thematic cocktails. (Obviously).
The Movie: Only attempt to watch this documentary if you a) love old men who practice their craft and b) have sushi in front of you. I could not even possibly have made it through the glamour shots of lovingly presented tuna and salmon if I did not have my own nigiri tethering me to reality. Don’t even try it. Also, the entire movie is in Japanese and subtitled in English…in white script. M and I had to move like five feet closer to our TV to be able to read it.
That aside (and that wasn’t much), Jiro was fantastic. In addition to the above-mentioned glamour shots, it delivers a real study of Japanese culture, specifically focused on family dynamics and pride in one’s work. Jiro is eighty-five years old, and still not only running the world’s only perfect Michelin starred sushi restaurant, but also kicking his sons and the teenage apprentices into shape. The “cult of excellence” surrounding the whole operation is electrifying. At one point, Jiro’s son goes to the fish market and introduces the cameramen to all the fish vendors with whom he works; each one, according to him, is the master of tuna, or shrimp, or octopus. It’s sort of funny (aren’t we just talking about fish, here?) but the intensity with which they help one another succeed is actually pretty humbling. There are still people in the world who love what they do so much that they consider vacations “boring” and look on retirement as an imposition they hope is still far away. At eighty-five. Kind of makes a person want to take a look at their own choices, right?
The Drink: Fabulously gingery (of course), but really mild overall. Definitely not a spicy punch in the face, although I did slice enough ginger to make that happen. (Apparently you shouldn’t leave me alone with a mandoline. I get excited).
Here’s the shakedown:
The Ginger Dragon
Using a mandoline, cut a few thin slices of ginger off a root. Then, roughly chop the slices.
Combine the following in a metal shaker:
-Two shots of vodka
-Splash of Ginger beer
-Lemon juice (about a third of a lemon)
-The chopped ginger
Shake intensely, pretending that you’re using a ShakeWeight. Refuse to let anyone take pictures of you doing so.
Pour into frosted glasses. I don’t care if it’s winter. Man up.
Top with club soda.
Pose your creation in front of a globe and allow that backdrop and a great Japanese documentary put your travel lust on hold. For about a minute.