Sunday, March 20, 2011

Of Sushi and Half Birthdays

"I went to graduate school to learn to help people live meaningfully,
But it was my daughters that taught me the meaning to life"

So there I was.
I was sitting with my daughter eating a sushi roll called The Scooby Doo. There was a time when I, raw fish and vinegar rice were not tablemates.
But things have changed.
I’m going to share one recipe and three sushi restaurant reviews with you. Except this recipe is about relationships. It’s kind of how I got to be here with my girl and the Scooby Doo. And don’t worry, this recipe comes free.
In fact, I’m saving you about $100.00 that I might otherwise charge you if we were meeting at the office.

The One Recipe
Wherever we went, we were a crowd. Numerically, we counted as six. But factor in 4 daughters with larger than life personalities, their friends and a trail of bemused boys and you’d swear we were a mini metropolis. Add to that my wife’s family who number 8 in siblings and you’d need a calculator to keep count at our get togethers. Understandably, our celebrations could be loud and large. Sometimes vice versa.
Funny isn’t it, though? Even in the middle of crowds of adoring relatives, individuals can feel a little lost. Have you been there? Inherent within us, there still seems to be an itch for one-on-one time with the important people in our lives that larger group contact doesn’t scratch.
Well, when our girls were little, my wife and I discovered a recipe for relationships that foster the celebration of the individual; a special event that scratches at that itch for one on one time.
It’s called Half Birthdays.

Here’s the concept. Since birthdays, graduations, etc. were all such big people events for us, we designed one day a year where each daughter had Dad all to herself. A special father-daughter day celebration that was all hers. We called it their half-birthday and celebrated it 6 months after their birthday; sometimes 6 months before. We’d go shopping, to the movies, or bake, sometimes road trips. Did I say shopping? We did a lot of that. And our adventures always included sharing a meal out. Our meals were a time to talk; to bond. A type of breaking bread together. It was our time to laugh, sometimes cry. It was our time to plan and a time to be frivolous. A time to hear hopes; it was a time to dream.
And their half birthdays were an opportunity for me to fan the flames of their esteem. To tell them genuinely great things about themselves.
The celebration of the individual.

So that’s how I came to be sitting, eating a sushi roll called The Scooby Doo with my daughter; one of my four little girls, now with two children of her own. We, still celebrating (when we can) a recipe for relationships, that thing we call half birthdays.
Now that you have an extra $100.00 in your pocket, go spend some of it on your kids, why don’t you? There’s no age restriction on your child. And if you don’t have any, invite a nephew or niece. Remember, kids of all ages need one on one time.
Go, celebrate your individual.
Go explore!

The 3 Restaurant Reviews
I love sushi. I didn’t always. In fact I used to be a little weird about it. But as they have done in so many ways, my four daughters have broadened my horizons in many ways including food. They helped to introduce me to this fabulous Japanese cuisine. Sushi is a specific style of Japanese fare that combines vinegar seasoned rice with a variety of seafood and vegetables. The word "sushi" actually means "vinegar rice." And like all artists, a sushi cook can create so many unique dishes; each a melody that plays to our eyes and our palate.
Here are three places that I have been to with my daughters. You would be mad to miss these great Half-Birthday opportunities.
These are some of their signature sushi rolls. All eaten by yours truly. Bon appétit, or as they say in Japanese:

Oshima Sushi and Fugu Lounge
2071 Natomas Crossing Drive, Sacramento, CA 95834 /Tel. 916.515.1958
• The Scooby Doo – Oh my! I love this one. Spicy mayo sauce on top. A crunchy bite from the tempura.
Inside: albacore, hamachi, cream cheese - top: spicy salmon, green onion, tobiko, lightly tempura, with Oshima Special Sauce, Spicy Mayo Sauce/ $12.50
• The FNB - Inside: avocado, snow crab - top: tuna, albacore, avocado, green onion, tobiko, with Oshima Special Sauce, Spicy Mayo Sauce/ $11.50
• The Dynamite - Inside: shrimp tempura -top: albacore, unagi, avocado, green onion, tobiko, with Oshima Special Sauce, Spicy Mayo Sauce and Hot Sauce/$12.50

Sushi of Naples Japanese Restaurant
5470 East 2nd St., Long Beach, CA 90803/Tel. 562.434.1122
• The Albacore Dream – We ordered this twice! It’s got spice, it’s got sass and it’s got crunch. Spicy tuna roll topped with avocado, seared albacore and House dressing.
• The Naples Roll - Tuna, yellowtail, salmon, shrimp, masago, avocado, wrapped with soy paper
• The Philadelphia Roll - Salmon, cream cheese, cucumbers, sprouts. Cream cheese is my friend.

Fuji Sushi Boat & Buffet
213 G St / Davis, CA 95616/ Tel. 530.753.3888
Sit down for a second in case you go faint. Dinner here is $17.95 for all the sushi and sashimi you can eat. The price also includes tea and soft drinks. This is rare in the world of sushi restaurants. This price alone stands against what you might pay just for individual orders of sushi elsewhere. Their seating includes a bar where you can sit while little boats float around. Each boat carries its cargo of sushi delights where you can simply grab whatever appeals to you and bring it home to port. Eat up! Alternative options include soup, pot stickers, wontons, fried shrimp, etc. And if you don’t see your favorite sushi roll, tell the chefs what you crave and they will try to deliver.


Mandy said...

that was sweet. she introduced me to the "scooby doo" too. its my favorite there!

Brooks at Cakewalker said...

Howdy, neighbor! I think half-birthday celebrations are a grand idea - especially if it involves time well spent with your children. Nice write-ups too on the sushi eats both locally and the one in Naples (I grew up in Belmont Shore). Now I'll have a new dining stop next time I'm in SoCal.

misa said...

Half birthday is a great idea!
Sounds really yummy those new type of sushi, 'California Roll" is such a popular sushi in Japan and actually Japanese kids love it more than original sushi now days...
Anyway, thank you for the interesting post and Itadakimasu!

Anonymous said...

Nice post. That Scooby Doo sounds very yummy. Thanks for sharing your story.

Eizel said...

This was such a sweet post! I'm still on the fence about having kids but reading posts like these make it a little more tempting. Thanks for sharing your special moments with the rest of us.

Lilly said...

Hi Mario! Sushi and I did go hand in hand either until I start working for this company (which I still work for). All they serve at parties were sushi and if I didn’t learn how to eat it, I would miss out! So 10 years later I can say I love sushi…but sometimes sushi doesn’t love me…
Great blog!

Anna's kitchen table said...

I love sushi, as do my two daughters! It's lovely to take them to a sushi restaurant as a special treat, I think I enjoy seeing their happy-to-be-there faces more than the sushi!

Ruth said...

Sounds great!! I too have only recently become a fan of sushi!

Linda said...

I really like this idea of half-birthdays! We love one-on-one time with the children. Nice blog and writing, will be back to read more!

GmiK said...

Sushi!!!mmmmm.....I don't like it so much, but nice post!!

Claudia said...

Half birthday is a wonderful idea!

Salutari din Romania! (Greetings
from Romania)

Brad Davis said...

Growing up on government cheese and Hamburger Helper--Sushi was never in my stable of food favorites. However, some college buddies introduced me to the deep-fried variety they call "tempura" and the Sake bomb to wash it down(warm sake, cold beer, gone in 3 seconds)and I was hooked to the experience. Much older and refined, I now enjoy the mysterious and raw versions. Though I haven't sake bombed in over a decade, I still enjoy my sushi with an ice cold beer or some green tea.

Half-birthdays...thank you for an invaluable tradition that I promise will continue through my two children--YOUR grandchildren. Just last month Ryland and I enjoyed bowling, burgers, and beer (root, because he's only 6 1/2). Not sure who needed the one-on-one more...

Cristina said...

Olá Mario, obrigada pela visita no Destino.
Realmente seu blog é muito interessante, gostei da idéia.
Entre outras atividades adoro cozinha, a hístória que existe atraz de cada prato.
Por sinal estou fazendo um curso de sushi rsss
Voltarei sempre


Nice post!! im now a follower! glad you enjoy AnnaLikes :) keep the entertaining posts coming! Best wishes from Dubai

Mary Bergfeld said...

Mario, the half-birthday is a lovely concept and should be adopted by more of us. This is my first visit to your blog so I decided to spend some time browsing through your earlier entries. I'm really glad I did that. You've created a wonderful environment for your readers to visit. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a grand day. Blessings...Mary

Cinzia said...

Mario, this "one-on-one" time in really GREAT.. i'm going to feel my heart moving, thinking about my husband in a one-on-one with each one of my kids!
Thank you for this very special recipe of relation-ships.
I'll write you on your private email about planning your visit in Italy ;))

Anonymous said...

That is probably the most important recipe in life! What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing, Mario.
I have never had sushi before. I've never even heard of some of those rolls, but they all sound delicious. Great reviews, I am officially interested in trying sushi now!

Hidayat MJ Jamalludin said...

Scooby Doo?? hahah... funny name .. And that half birthday concept .. its a very good and nice to do to create better bond between parents.... I think it might work in my family as well.. thanks never thought of it!

Beth Michelle said...

I love sushi too! Reading this reminded me of what I'm missing living in Israel where the sushi is not so much anything like a Scooby Doo roll!
I love that you make a special day for your daughters. So special!!

Nuska said...

¡Hello, Mario! I´m Nuska and i don´t speak english.Your spanish is very good. I am going to visit your blog. A kiss

Ellen ♥ said...

Wow. Sushi as scooby doo. :) I like the idea of half birthday why not.. :) such a great post as always! :)

Take care Mario and your family! :D Have a nice day! :D

Hans Febrian said...

hello great dad, i'm visiting here! :D

BeadBag said...

"Half-Birthday" - what a lovely idea. We all love sushi and you reminded me of a super local sushi restaurant we visited in Toronto, when our son was living there. We had something called a sushi dragon - it was super! In London now we have tons of sushi restaurants (my husband's favourite food!) and we have an excellent local Japanese food shop where the sashimi is super.

Jean Grey said...

Gracias por pasarte!! Sorry, my english it's not very good either :P I love food! and America!! So I will be on your blog often. Regards!

Maria-Denisa said...

Hello Mario! Thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind words. If you really like some of my flowers, yes, you may use them. I only want you to specific your sourse if you publish them into your blog. Thank you again for being so nice. Good luck with your work!

jenskie said...

Hi Mario,

Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I love your blog and articles. I will definitely will visit your blog regularly.

Have a nice day!


kitsune said...

hi Mario, how have you been?

just an advice, restaurants with fishes flown over from Japan shouldn't be eaten right now because of the radiation leak into the sea.
do take care, and stay healthy.

fellow blogger,

Natália Rocha said...

Hi Mario!
I was very happy with your visit.
Unfortunately I don't speak english very well.
As you say I think that's very cool!

Gostei muito do teu blog!
Amo culinária e falar das relações humanas, com amor e carinho assim como você é muito bom.
Seguirei teu blog!


Ryan said...

What a sweet post! I'm sure your daughters treasure the time they get to spend with you. I know that's how I feel about my Dad! That is great that you create such wonderful memories for all of them! The Scooby Doo sounds amazing. :) Yum!!

Bee said...

You added me first, so thanks to you too! I wish I could say hi from California, I JUST visited and am in utter love--unfortunately I am saying hello from chilly New England instead.

Glad you like my blog, it's still quite a little blog baby and I'm trying to mold it into something I can really sink my teeth into so to speak, so to know someone with an established food blog approves means I'm heading in the right direction!

Ohh sushi, how I love it so.

Natália Rocha said...

Mario, I'm very happy with your visitor.
Speak with peoples of the others nations is very good.
You is much cool!Your blog is very interesting.Speak of the food thus is very interesting.
The Brazil, unfortunately don't teaching your language very well in schools.
Sorry the erros in my english.
Speak little e with very difficulty.
My blog tell about the love, the love of life, the hope.
Would like you reading my blog.
The translator in your blog help me much.
É uma pena não ter um desses em meu blog, para que você possa lê-lo.
Te perguntarei caso tenha alguma duvida, come back always here talk with you.

Thank you!Much thank you!
Come back here very times.


Jool said...

Hello Mario! Its been awhile! :) Half birthday idea is fun! thinking to celebrate mine too hahaha! :D I am not really into eating sushi or scooby doo :D hahaha! :D cute kid.

Have fun and have a great day! :)

Anonymous said...

Ciao Mario,come stai??:-)
è bellissimo sempre leggere i tuoi accorati racconti..
Un felice pomeriggio a presto*

projectfoodlab said...

project food lab

ciao mario,
thanks for dropping by. sorry that its taken so long to respond but its been a busy week. I decided to leave a comment here as well..

you have an interesting blog i like your personal take on food. convivienza. or living together of which food is of course absolutely fundamental here in italy.

where to eat in florence. at the simplest level i would recommend, for a quick lunch, 'da mario' near the central market. 'rocco's' in the sant ambrogio market. then also traditional and quite simple is 'al tranvai', it is my far my favourite osteria, but be prepared to find things like fried brain on the menu! otherwise a never fail option and probably the best traditional florentine restaurant is 'buca del orafo' near the ponte vecchio. It can get quite lively some nights. more high end i would recommend 'ora d'aria'. Some of the best creative tuscan cuisine you can find, but pricier. There are plenty more. If you have any other questions please feel free to write! I hope you enjoy trip to florence. a presto.

Lisa Cookwitch said...

Ciao Mario - here via your kind comment on my blog. :)

Half birthdays are a lovely thing, one of my friends does that for her son as he was born on Christmas day. They call the celebration in the middle of the year his UnBirthday and he loves it.

I have read back through your blog, and it's great! Lovely writing, lovely memories. :)

Clara Lana said...

Hii Mario.. Thank you for visiting my ugly site.. :D
Well, you're talking about Sushi, huh! Hmm.. I like sushi very much. Especially, Maguro and Salmon... I've been in Japan for 8 years.. I ate Sushi as much as I can... LOL

Btw, I've been following ur site; no 150.. Have a great day Mario.. :D

Emily said...

Thank you for making me crave sushi ASAP!

Ashraf said...

thank you for your doing...

The Good Soup said...

There's a interesting book I've been enjoying- Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket, I think it's called. Full of great fishy facts. Lovely to hear about your half birthdays. Will have to try it out with my little boy, and start him young. He's only 8 months so we've only missed one so far!
Bye for now, and thanks for finding my site!

fivyola hendra. said...

thx for visiting! i followed you ady.
if you follow me back, that would be cool. cheers :)

cautionhotdish said...

Hi Mario!
Love your blog! I'll definitely keep my eye on it for words of wisdom, and maybe some help in the kitchen department too! Thanks for sharing :)

-agasajadas las hadas- said...

mmmm i like the sushi...
I'm glad your visit to my blog, I love California, as soon as possible I want to travel there.
My first language is Spanish so I used a translator, although I know a little English

I love your blog is delicious

luck and take care.