Sea Urchins and Second Chances

I remember like yesterday the first time I ever had sushi. 1995 at Kamehachi on the northwest corner of Schiller and Wells in Chicago. The oyster shooter with the quail egg and the unagi (i.e. the eel) were splendid and forever more I would be a sushi-lover, erstwhile connoisseur. With those first bites and with every dining experience, I fell more and more in love with sushi – No Name Sushi in the Mission in San Francisco when I would visit Tad last century, the kani nigiri at Mirai Sushi and Japonais in Chicago, the otoro and toro at Coast Sushi in Chicago, among so many experiences contributed to my love and passion.

All except for one.

Sea urchin.

I almost threw up in my mouth the first – and for years – the only time I ever had it. Its sliminess and fishy taste forever stamped upon my culinary memory, it would always be mentioned in my top five of foods that I truly hated. And for a man that doesn’t hate, those were big words indeed.

Until last week, when I joined friends at Tao in Manhattan. The sister of one of my friends swore by it. I’d been intrigued, ever since watching the movie “A Hundred Foot Journey” and various food channel episodes. I was still wary, the horrific memories of that one bite almost twenty years ago still vivid in my mind and mouth.

(Honing the inner Yoda in me anticipating the new Star Wars movie to be released within a couple weeks) try it, I did. (Of course, if I was truly channelling my inner Yoda, I would have heard him say, “No, try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”)

The explosion of flavors were absolutely incredible. For a minute, I felt transported into another world and I lost track of the friends sitting at the table with me. I heard the music of “A Hundred Foot Journey” while its taste brought me home to India, even though what I was eating was sushi.

I was so very happy.

And so tonight, at Sushi Ran, the sushi restaurant in Sausalito that I’d been wanting to go ever since I moved here over two years ago, I tried it again.


Moral of the story?
Even the things you think you don’t like you may like again if given the chance. Everyone and everything deserves a second chance.

Even uni.

Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.

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