Saturday, February 16, 2019

Yireh Sushi (a food review post)

As I've mentioned recently, sushi has never really been my thing. In fact, one could say that most of my life I was very anti-sushi. I wouldn't eat it, not even if you paid me to. Though no one ever offered to pay me to, so there may well have been a price I would have taken to do that. The world will never know.

That said, all it takes is a woman to change things like that. Not any woman, mind you, just my wife. [Not that she could ever be "just" anything, but, you know...] And frying the sushi, but you can go back and look at my post about how I broke the world if you're curious. Still, even after I was accepting of sushi, I was pretty indifferent to it. Maybe that's because the only sushi we ever had (because my daughter loves sushi... hmm...? because my daughter loves California rolls) was grocery store sushi. I would take a piece if my daughter offered me one but, really, only to make her happy, not because I wanted it.

That all changed when we took our first trip to Yireh Sushi.

You might be wondering why we would even go to a sushi restaurant, am I right? That's because in our family, on a person's birthday, that person gets to pick what we have for dinner for said person's birthday. Well, within reason. Sometimes, these meals are even things that we cook at home, which is usually the case for my birthdays and, now that we make the best pizza in the city in our very own house, my younger son's birthday, too. My daughter pretty much always wants to go out, and my wife can go either way depending on the kind of food she wants to have. As it happens, for my wife's birthday about a year and a half ago, she wanted sushi.

To be clear, it wasn't that she specifically wanted sushi, but she'd read about Yireh and wanted to try it out but was reticent about it because my younger son won't touch it and I had always been, well, I talked about that already. However, for her birthday, no one would be allowed to protest or complain, so she chose Yireh for her birthday dinner.

I was blown away.

Let me put it like this:
Pretend the only pizza you've ever had is frozen grocery store pizza. Something like Totino's.
Which is fine, you know, for cardboard covered in vaguely ketchup-like sauce and whatever that is that they call "cheese." Look, all I know is that it doesn't melt. Cheese melts so that white stuff can't be cheese.

At any rate, "Party Pizza" is what you think of when you think of pizza, and you're not really all that impressed with it.

One day, though, someone takes you to a real pizza parlor. And, BLAMO!, your eyes are opened to what pizza really is.

That's what going to Yireh was like for me. I was all, "This is sushi?! This is amazing!"

A trip to Yireh is pretty standard these days when we're going to the opera. It's become the car picnic food of choice. And, well, I already mentioned (see the above linked post) how it was the food I chose for my birthday. That's fairly significant.

On top of the great food, they are run by a lovely family, and you can watch the cook make the sushi right there at the counter if you're so inclined. They knew who I was by my third trip in, and the woman who takes the orders, etc asks about my daughter (and how she's doing in softball, sometimes) every time I go in. When we went for my birthday, she brought out for my wife and I (because the kids didn't accompany us) a free order of gyoza, but, get this, I never told her it was my birthday: She was just being nice! Needless to say, we love going there.

And we all have some favorites:
For my daughter, it's their California rolls or, sometimes, their California tempura roll.
My wife loves the Ace roll. So do I, actually. It's awesome.
But I also love their Fire roll, which has a slice of jalapeno on top and I'm not actually a huge jalapeno fan, but this works really well, and I almost always get an order of one of these.
The Dragon roll is also something we get on a fairly regular basis.

We do try new things pretty regularly, but nothing has beat these.

So, what I'm saying here is this: If you like sushi, you'll love this place. You can't beat the food or the people.
And, if you don't like sushi, you should give the place a try anyway. Maybe you've just been eating "party sushi" your whole life and need to have your eyes opened.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (a movie review post)

I'm just going to get it out of the way that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are not some of my favorite movie people, as I talked about in this post. That doesn't mean they're not good at what they're good at, though, and, evidently, what they're good at is writing comedies. [Come on, Disney, what made you think these guys were capable of helming a Star Wars movie? Maybe a Lego Star Wars movie (why aren't you doing that?), but not a franchise film.] All of which is to say that The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is almost as good as the first one.

There may be some spoilers in here. Okay, I lied. There will be some spoilers in here.
You've been warned.

The first issue with the movie is that it jumps ahead five years. On the surface, this isn't an issue; however, when you look at the movie in the context of the outside world it's set in -- and you have to, because this one breaks that barrier much more heavily than the first -- you have to reconcile the idea that the brother and sister have been having this conflict over Lego and sharing and playing together for the entire five years and the mother is only just now at her breaking point? Do Lord and Miller even have kids? [No, I don't care enough to look that up.] This idea is dumb.

So is the idea that Finn (the boy) has being playing at Apocalypseberg for five years. And maybe he hasn't been, but it's certainly implied.

And, again, do Lord and Miller even have kids? Because when Finn goes to Bianca's room and smashes her Lego construction [Her personal Lego in her room! Because let's get this straight, the Lego that Finn plays with are his dad's! It was his dad's stuff that he was allowed to play with but, evidently, despite the message that Bianca was going to get to share in that endeavor, she's been isolated to only playing with her personal stuff in her own room for the past five years AND NO ONE HAS DONE ANYTHING ABOUT THE FACT THAT FINN IS A DICK!], she is punished right along with Finn. As a parent, I'm appalled by this, the fact that Finn got off Scott-free for smashing her stuff.

The other story issue with the film is the increasing frequency that the Minifigures are able to see into the human world. I believe that happens once in the first movie? During the climax, Emmet sees into the real world briefly and sees the father/son conflict. Something like that. I haven't seen it again since it seeing it in the theater and don't quite remember. However, in this one, any time the story is at a sticking point, there's a glimpse into the real world to push it along. And not just from Emmet, which I find problematic since that was supposed to be his special ability. Now it's just a plot device.

All of that said, when they stick to what's going on in the Lego world, everything works fine. The humor is good, and it's an enjoyable film. Probably, these things that bother me aren't going to bother anyone else. Or even be noticed by most other people.

The voice acting was fine. I suppose Chris Pratt deserves a special shout out for doing two characters and having the non-Emmet character not sound totally like Chris Pratt. Of course, I don't actually know if that was due to voice acting or if it was due to sound engineering. But, if it was him, he did a good job.

And I didn't even realize that Unikitty had an actual voice actor but, then, I wasn't really aware of Alison Brie five years ago. Okay, that's not true, because we watched Mad Men, but she didn't impress me in that. Since then, though, I've been very impressed, and her Unikitty voice skillz are pretty mad.

So, yeah, if you want a fun movie that won't require a lot of thought and will deliver on the laughs, Lego Movie 2 is a good choice.
Damn you, Lord and Miller!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

It's My Fault; I Broke the World

Let's supply some context, shall we?

There are those things that, when we are young, we swear we will never do. Or was that just me?
Well, no, I remember being in 5th or 6th grade and there being some kind of conversation about smoking and how bad it is for people... Just to be clear, this was not health class or anything like that. It wasn't a class lesson. It was a conversation that involved our teacher and was, maybe, initiated by a question from a student? Look, it was a long time ago, and I don't really remember how that happened, but I do remember basically every kid in the class swearing how they would never smoke. Ever. And I never have; who knows about the rest.
[And, hey, smoking is just a very hard line for me. Like being a Republican. If you want to kill yourself slowly, you're free to go about doing that, but leave me out of it.]

Most of those kinds of things I swore off were more personal kinds of decisions. Like deciding, when I was somewhere around the age of five, that I was never going to drink. Let's just say it had to do with my step-dad and his drinking behavior and leave it at that.
Of course, then, the idea of drinking being one of the three mortal sins was strongly reinforced by my Bible Belt upbringing. Drinking, dancing, and smoking, the three things that would send you to Hell faster than a greased pig on a water slide.

Then there were the gross things. Things like avocado. Broccoli, which had such a horrible smell when it was being cooked, being cooked meaning being boiled. And sushi.
I mean, it's raw. Raw fish. I was raised to be against pretty much anything raw except fruit. And lettuce. Iceberg lettuce. Maybe tomatoes. All the other vegetables got boiled.
Not to mention the fact that sushi had other things in it, frequently, like avocado.
And eel. Which I have no good reason to be against, especially considering that I'm very interested in trying snake.
Sushi was like the epitome of all gross foods to me. If there was one thing I was never going to eat, it was sushi.

I started eating broccoli when I was in my 20s.
If you do things to it other than boiling it, it's pretty good and doesn't smell nearly as bad.
I came to an intellectual understanding that drinking wasn't a sin while I was a teenager but, still, I looked around at the way other teenagers acted when alcohol was involved and still decided it wasn't for me. I was pretty firm in that decision until some time in my late 30s when I finally tried a bit of wine. Then there was the post on Facebook I made a few years ago about how I had gone to Trader Joe's to pick up some things and only come out with a six-pack of beer. My friends from when I was a youngster just about lost it.

Which brings us back to avocado. One of the barriers to avocado had always been guacamole. I'd tried guacamole, but it was always bland and rather tasteless and the mushy consistency was kind of off-putting. I didn't understand why anyone would eat the stuff. I'm not sure what took so long but, finally, my wife said, "I bet I can make some guacamole you'd like," and then she went on to do that. Now, I'm guacamole make supreme. And I like avocado.

I still find it weird.

But! But!
None of this is sushi. Because... sushi... raw! fish!

Unfortunately, I have to admit that my introduction to sushi came through Guy Fieri. Look, he used to just be this local Santa Rosa guy who had some restaurants, one of which is a place called Tex Wasabi that is a weird kind of sushi bar. My wife took me because she thought I might like it because, guess what, a lot of the sushi is... fried. I grew up in the South, at that point, it's just fried fish. At any rate, it opened the door to, yes, even sushi. Not that it was my favorite or anything, but I was willing to eat it every now and then.
Regular sushi. We've never been back to Tex Wasabi.

All of which brings us up to how I broke the world.

About a year and a half ago, we tried this new sushi place in town, Yireh Sushi, and it is fucking amazing. Yes, "fucking" is required in that sentence to convey the extent of the amazingness of this place. It's one of our favorite places, now, and we often get sushi from there for the car when we're going to the opera. It's so amazing, in fact, that that's what I chose to have for my birthday dinner (which was last week as you may have noticed if you've been around this week seeing the Alcatraz pictures I posted). Sushi. Raw fucking fish. Some of which had avocado in it. And I had a beer to go with it.

My brain is still processing this data because it doesn't really make any sense, but I'm sure this is proof that the world is broken and it's probably somehow my fault.

So there you go...