Friday, January 21, 2005

Traffic School, Girls Night and a Couple of Neighbourhood Sushi Places in San Francisco

Opera Plaza Sushi
(415) 292-9997 601 Van Ness Ave San Francisco, CA 94102
Moshi Moshi (415) 861-8285 2092 3rd St San Francisco, CA 94107

I decided if I had to go to Traffic School, then I might as well try and
make into some sort of interesting experience. Hmmm...? I thought to
myself, how can I wing it so I might be able to spend my obligatory 8
hours of boredom surrounded primarily by an intelligent, smart,
handsome, well-dressed, articulate, liberal bunch of irresponsible drivers. The
answer, I decided, was to go to Gay Comedy Traffic School. And
actually, I quite enjoyed myself. But I felt like such an intruder, such
a fraud. I hope all those lovely people in the class will forgive me. (I
wonder if or how obvious it was that I was possibly the only straight
person there?)

The venue was a down-market hotel I drive past on the way to work every
week day. It's on a traffic-heavy street, not the kind of area you'd
necessarily choose to hang out in. I'd decided beforehand, that
whatever happened, I would at least treat myself to some lunch on the
short break I knew they would give us. I was close to the Opera Plaza,
where I recalled seeing a little sushi bar, tucked away, almost out of
sight. Fred is a non-fish eater so I figured this was a good time to
indulge in one of my passions without having to worry about not
involving him. I guessed I wouldn't feel uncomfortable sitting there, at
the bar, by myself , so off I marched down Franklin street, with an
unread food magazine in hand, to give it a try.

Click on the photo to enlarge

It was empty when I walked in. (We'd been sent for our lunch at 11.45!) I
called out to the guy standing behind the bar and asked if they were
open. He nodded and invited me to take a seat before dashing out through a
back door. A waiter soon arrived and bought me green tea. I ordered a small
hot sake and started to browse the menu. There was a specials board
which caught my eye with it's promise of Aji (Spanish mackerel). Aji is
about the only sushi fish that is more widespread in Europe than it is
here. I love it and so if I see it, I can't resist it. I ordered some,
along with a few standards, Californian handroll (fresh crab, they
assured me), spicy tuna hand roll and sake nigiri. The chef arrived. He
was, in fact, the gentleman who'd originally greeted me, but he'd
changed into a Japanese-style robe and was ready to start preparing my
lunch. "The Aji is not fresh" he told me, "no good", so I ordered unagi
nigiri instead.

Click on the photo to enlarge

California Hand Roll
Crab dry, tough and wirey-textured. No moisture whatsoever left in this
sorry piece of crustacean. The flesh was almost as hard as its shell
must once have been. Ew.

Spicy Tuna Handroll

A generous amount of diced tuna coated in a very hot sauce. Almost hot enough to stop me detecting that the fish was actually off. I am sure the spice was masking the tuna's lack of freshness. Ew, ew. A total reject after just one bite.

Unagi Nigiri
Plump, juicy pieces of unagi, but with a little too much fat for my taste.

Sake Nigiri
Good clean, fresh-tasting salmon. The only commendable sushi I tried.

Click on the photo to enlarge

Moshi Moshi
In the last week I spent a couple of hours with my ex-flatmate, D, in
her China Basin neighbourhood. We parted ways (as roommates) when I
decided to live in delicious sin with Fred, and she started to consider
a move away from San Francisco. I still delight in the rare moments when
just the two of us can get together for a gossip. As she's just, finally, accepted
a job in LA, our time together is now even more precious.
I was returning all the bowls I'd borrowed from her for our Christmas Dinner which was the perfect excuse for the two of us to quickly grab some sushi in her hood, destination Moshi Moshi.

Click on the photo to enlarge

Moshi Moshi is a bright, welcoming space with lively, friendly staff. The food is very good and extremely fresh. We shared a small but tasty seaweed and a cold, clean-tasting tofu appetizer to start. Our tastes don't differ that much when it comes to raw fish so we divided a plate of hamachi sashimi, ten slices of tender, glistening fish, served at exactly the right temperature. It was beautifully presented with half of the pieces curled into a pretty rose shape. It tasted perfect.

We each had a handroll too. I went for a California, and in stark contrast to the Opera Plaza Sushi's version, Moshi Moshi's roll contained whole pieces of crab meat, still shaped like the creature's claw. D's spicy tuna roll couldn't have been further from the Opera Plaza one either. It contained delicious looking, deep red slices of fish. I regretted not having enough room to try one myself.

We lingered, perhaps a little too long, gossiping, after paying for our check, and as we were the last to leave, apologized for having kept the staff hanging on for our departure. They assured us we had caused no problem and continued to tell us about their open-mic nights for poetry readings every Monday. Maybe we'll give it a try, if we have time before D makes her journey to a new life down South...

Traffic School, Girls Night and a Couple of Neighbourhood Sushi Places in San Francisco


  • At 23/1/05 22:43, Blogger Sam said…

    Unfortunately I don't think it is that easy. I tried to make it once back in London and it was a disaster. You need to get very fresh sushi-grade fish. Cutting the fish correctly is an art from in itself. Making the rice involves using rice vinegar, i think. A friend of a friend is trying to get together a suhi class for us with a sushi chef. If it ever happens and I learn any good tips, I'll report back.

  • At 29/9/08 16:33, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Traffic School, Girls Night and a Couple of Neighborhood Sushi Places in San Francisco sounds perfect sam!



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