…I did actually take a shower before I went to work this morning. Because I know y’all have been on pins and needles, like, ALL DAY about it.
OK, probably not.
And mostly I took a shower because my eyes were practically glued shut and I thought, Maybe…if took shower I with soap of water maybe a…more wakefully alert I could attain?
Yeah, slightly slow start this morning.
IN COMPLETELY UNRELATED NEWS, guess what I had for lunch? (I know. Next, I shall share my plans for reorganizing the pantry, and perhaps also externalize my currently-internal-only debate in re: should I paint my toenails a festive color this weekend, even though I always end up wearing closed-toed shoes because they are more comfortable/practical/and besides, if the Zombpocalypse were to strike while I was at work, well, that’s a LOT of walkin’ to get back home, ya know? Possibly through broken glass. PLUS, if I have to fend off any zombies along the way and I’m wearing open-toed shoes? I’VE LOST A VERY IMPORTANT WEAPON IF I CAN’T KICK THEM OFF ME.)
Anyway! For lunch, I had onigiri. Which are Japanese rice balls. Which I’d never actually had before, which was why I went, “Hey! I’ve never had one of those, and also I love rice and have been wanting to explore more Japanese cuisine in general! I should totally get some of those today instead of continuing to haunt up and down Kearny like some kind of lost soul looking for a body to snatch or something!”
Which was what I was doing because everything I saw for lunch was some combination of meh or blech or $$!!Ouch!!$$ or I can actually feel my arteries hardening, just LOOKING at that.
And then I saw ‘Onigiri’ (which is the name of the restaurant) and then it said ‘gourmet Japanese rice balls’ and finally, my sad, aimless wandering ended.
Now, it might be that the concept of a “rice ball” sounds like yawn but it isn’t yawn because look at these things.
(The one on top is more than half eaten. The salad disappeared about four seconds after this picture was taken. Also, why do I keep forgetting that I like to snack on edamame? And also I had picked some of the fillings out of the other two because this was a brand new world to me and I was like Jack Skellington charging around Christmastown bellow-singing “WHAT’S THIS? WHAT’S THIS?! THERE’S SOMETHING IN THIS RICE! WHAT’S THIS? WHY THAT LOOKS SO UNIQUE!”)
I learned several things about these today.
One thing I learned is that I love the filing, but the seaweed wrapping was a bit…much for me, and I rather wished there were a lot less of it on these. Not only because whoa, SALTY to the point of ‘I can taste NOTHING but salt right now',’ but because of the distinctly fishy overtones.
Alas, I am still not a huge fan of seafood.
Especially if it is unmistakably seafood – you know, fishy-fish. I can handle the ‘almost-tastes-like-chicken’ fish, but the minute it becomes “flavorful” fish, I start making the blech-face.
Which saddens me no end, because I feel as though there is this enormous gaping hole in my love affair with food because of this irrational rejection of this one particular flavor.
I want to like fish. Or at least tolerate it. I do not want to gag because I accidentally got a bite of sea bass, or because somebody added fish sauce to the miso.
So from time to time, I march in and order up something with fish in it, in tones that suggest I totally know what I’m doing. And I will take my fish-product and I will jab my utensil into it with great confidence, firmly telling myself that this is going to be delicious, just look at all the happily chewing people all around me!, and then I pop the first bite into my mouth and ack, I just totally made BLECH face…!!!
And then I weep inside. So much time is being lost here…someday, I just KNOW I will stop despising fish…!
(Which I must do, because someday, I am totally going to visit Japan. And I don’t want to be insulting people everywhere I go because I didn’t know what the heck I was ordering and ended up with chunks of smoked eel in my noodles or something and then I made Blech Face like a proper Ugly American.)
ANYWAY, where was I? Oh, right. I ended up stripping off most than half of the nori, expecting that this would result in fallen-apart rice balls BUT IT DIDN’T, because the rice proved to be perfectly capable of holding itself together, thank-you-very-much.
Which leads me to something learned not by me, but by my coworkers by way of me learning something else entirely.
In case there was any doubt in their minds (…um…I don’t think there was…), my coworkers are now 100% certain that I am certifiably nuts.
Because as my too-small appetite began to run out of steam (and the fishy-salty nori got to be too much for me), I started picking apart the rice balls because…the rice…it was fascinating me.
(In my defense, I came into this with an already rather over-developed liking of rice in all its many forms – from “plain” white rice with a little soy sauce or butter [or even swimming in warmed milk with a little sugar] to the fanciest of grains, from long, slender, jet-black beautiful grown in the wilds of California to short, jolly grains of ambemohar (have you ever tried that stuff? Dog my witness, it almost tastes like mangos). It’s a bit sad, really, that for so many Americans “rice” means “white flavorless stuff, usually paired with chicken as part of a ‘healthier’ diet or some junk like that.” It’s an amazing grain with an expansive family tree, a rainbow of colors and an encyclopedia of flavors.) (IN RELATED NEWS, the Bean Festival [stop laughing!] is this weekend – my annual spasm of stocking up on harder-to-find bean varieties and [hopefully again this year] small, expensive bags of rice varieties I never heard of is upon us! Dear $DEITY, please let them have moccasin beans again because I almost cried last year when they didn’t…)
Anyway, this rice was definitely something different. It was firm, but sticky. It wasn’t mushy at all, or slimy. It looked like brown rice, but wasn’t “just” brown rice. It had a lot of the characteristics of ‘sushi’ rice, buuuuuuut, it had more character, a definite nuttiness and a sort of I am not just a starch here to make you feel full solidness – but not a jumping up and down yelling and doing battle with the sweet pickled radishes (think ‘butter pickle,’ only, with thinly shaved radishes) (which by the way were AWESOME and now I’ve decided I have to grow radishes just so I can attempt to make some myself).
AFTER QUITE A BIT OF EXPLORATORY RESEARCH, I’m pretty sure it was “gen-mai” rice.
And so are my coworkers. Because of course I shared my findings! Team Spirit and all that.
(Shortly afterward, one of them caught me ‘conducting’ the server in a vain attempt to make a bunch of stuff run faster. This passage is supposed to be vivace, you’re not even at allegro! You’re all, like, adagio and some junk! C’mon, HERE we go, and a-one, and a-two…! Which is why I now know for a FACT that my coworkers all think I am 110% nuts.) (But in a Mostly Harmless sort of way, so, that’s totally OK.)
Now. About my plans for the pantry…!