Friday, April 11, 2008

Yoshi's- Yum Yum

Aaaah, the art of dining alone. Not something I do very often, and I must admit that last night's solo meal wasn't completely alone. I ran into Yoshi's Fillmore on my way to the "gym" (gym is in quotes because is has recently become a more fictional place than somewhere I frequent with, well, any frequency.) My roommate works there and I thought I pop my head in before running over to Club One. Well, my plan was thwarted, and happily at that. I got there and A said, have a glass of wine. I thought, nah, I'll stick with water as I am going to go run on the treadmill pretty soon. This lasted about 5 minutes. So I sat there and had a lovely sauvignon blanc and read Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely in confident peace. I say confident because it takes some guts to sit in a lounge at dinner time by one's self and read a book. Really, it does, try it. People are on romantic dates, there are groups of friends having a laugh. But I was on a date with Philip Marlowe and that's not too shabby either. While I was sitting and reading the chef came out to sat hello to me. I have met him numerous times as my roommate is a waitress at the restaurant and I have been there a lot, it is very close to my house as well. So we chatted, talked about business, etc, and then I went back to Philip Marlowe, who was having a tough time at that moment to be honest. Well, next thing I know food is being served to me at my little table. I was shocked, I hadn't ordered anything, but I suppose this is what you get when you have friends in high places, aka, the kitchen.

The first dish to arrive was a carpaccio of hamachi (I believe, I never saw a menu). In the center were radishes on top of a bed of the most delicious mozzarella I have tasted (once again, it had to be mozzarella and even writing it sounds strange, but I am confident in my taste buds). There was also an orange colored sauce drizzled around the plate. This was absolutely heavenly. It was incredible. The fish was so soft and with the mozzarella it was just buttery. The radishes gave it a bit of heat and a crunch that perfected the whole experience. This was amazing. Who needs friends when you have food and books (unfortunately this thought occurs to me quite often and I have to remind myself, hey, I do need live people who aren't edible or readable!) The dish really transcends any verbal description, you must have it in your mouth to understand what it tastes like.

The second dish that I was pleasantly surprised by was a sushi roll called the Sarusa. It is poached shrimp, white fish and avocado with a bit of lemon zest in a roll and topped with a Dungeness crab salsa. This was amazing. The freshness of every ingredient was exquisite, and the flavors all complemented each other. It was almost creamy it was so good. As I placed the first roll in my mouth, Philip Marlowe had a large Indian man's hands wrapped around his neck, but I put him down to concentrate on the food. I figured that Chandler's story has been around since 1940, I'm sure Marlowe will be just fine. I was almost happy to be alone, as there was no company necessary but the food in front of me.

When I finished my delicious meal I made the shocking decision not to go to the gym. It was not actually that shocking considering I was now full of food and some lovely sauvignon blanc. Who needs exercise under those circumstances? I was picking up my book to see whether Marlowe would make it out of his sticky mess, when the manager came by and placed a fork and steak knife in front of me. I said "what are those for?" And he gave me the necessary response to any stupid question. He said "well, the knife if for cutting things..." I smiled and he walked away. Pretty soon after that a long and thin rectangular plate came out to join me. On it were organic lamb chops from Colorado served with a garlic mousse and roasted cauliflower. This is where things got sticky.

I have not eaten red meat since I was twelve years old. This means that for the majority of my life, the past 15 years, I have been bacon, steak, hamburger, hot dog, and lamb chop free. This was a choice I made, obviously, a long time ago for ethical reasons and I am now completely used to my diet. I went completely vegetarian for many years, always ovo-lacto though, and have gone off poultry for a six months here or there but eaten fish, etc. But I have never gone back to the red meat. I can say that one year ago I had a bite of a steak and once in high school I had a bite of steak. So this was not a world I wanted to dive back into. I am sure that I have been subjected to beef broth and reductions of things that I do not even want to think about, but I have stayed true to myself for many years. But now I was in a pickle. When someone sends you a complimentary dish that they made for you, you must eat it. I suppose my manners are stronger than my ethics when it comes to this. It is one thing to communicate with your hostess prior to a gathering about your dietary restrictions, but there is NO way I would send this back, yes, capitalized NO. So... I ate it.

At first I just took a bite to be polite. I started eating the cauliflower, which was delicious. Nutty and slightly browned, it was perfectly al dente. And I had a bite of the lamb. I put it in my mouth, scared of the gamey meat flavor that I was sure would arrive on my taste buds, when, wow! It was good. This lamb was incredibly tender and moist. There was some sticky reduction beneath it, and mixed with the garlic mousse, once again, wow! So I went from, ok, I'll have one bite to show my appreciation, to literally gnawing on the bones. Oops!

I don't know if I am reformed as of yet. I cannot imagine actually ordering a dish that contains red meat when going out, and while I can make a mean steak (I have never tasted my own but every time I make steak I get many compliments), I can't really imagine jumping into one on my own. But, I suppose if someone else served me meat it would be rude to say no, right???

PHOTO NOTE- The photo is actually a dish at Yoshi's but one I did not consume. I had my camera with me but felt a bit awkward busting it out as staff was looking at me because a) I was the random girl in the bar reading, b) why does she keep getting food sent to her and c) how does she know the chef? So, in a bid to draw less attention to myself I went picture free. Naturally I regret it, especially considering the food looked like works of art. But I think I am going back next week, so if I do I really could eat that carpaccio again...

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