Confessions of a Sushi Novice

It was the last day of October and the wind chills were in the 20’s. What they say about cold weather must be true: one needs extra calories since we burn more trying to keep warm. I was cold and hungry and looked forward to an appetizing lunch that workday.

Usually I do pretty well, bringing a salad for lunch. No dressing, no cheese or fats – healthy, right? And I took a pass on the doughnuts in the coffee room that morning and instead ate an apple. But all this wholesome eating only made me hanker for something richer and more satisfying.mcrib-sign

I set out to lunch to first run errands then scout out a nice lunch spot. It was then that I first spotted a McRib sign.  Yum.

Definitely an option.

But the food court near me had a new option: High Tide Poké. One entrée included brown rice with quinoa, fresh vegees and protein of your choice. It sounded like a delicious and sensible choice. I chose the salmon for my protein and was looking forward to a warm, tasty meal.

But when I sat down in the food court and opened the bowl’s lid, I saw something else. Large chunks of raw (ick!) salmon was nestled among the other ingredients. And everything was cold. [insert ominous music here]

Agghhhh. I thought the salmon was cooked! Nope.  This was definitely Raw Fish.

I am a Sushi Novice

My idea of sushi is a weak one: California roll with avocado and imitation crabmeat all neatly bundled up in rice.

Was this sushi?  Or was it poké?  Are they one and the same?  I just don’t know.

high-tide-pokeI should have known something was up since I was the oldest customer in line. This was definitely for the hipsters.

First I phoned my daughter. “Is this safe to eat?” I asked her. Naturally, she laughed. “Oh yeah my friend has eaten there like 10 times already,” she replied.

Yep, this was totally for Susan’s crowd. Since plucky Susan is 23 years old, has a fantastic job as a CPA and lives in the South Loop.

“Wow, Mom, you’re really branching out,” my daughter giggled.

She knows how to goad me.

And That’s When This Became an Official Challenge.

“It’s okay,” I told myself. “Fish eat raw fish, right? And they survive…”

I once dined with friends at a sushi restaurant. I had the perfect excuse to refrain from the uncooked food that evening – I was pregnant. How lucky for me. Instead, I ordered a juicy steak – medium rare – which was as close to raw as I was going to get.

I set out to finally try this unknown sushi/poke/raw whatever.

That’s When I Noticed Everyone Else’s Lunch

I looked up from my seat and saw a sign staring at me.


Everyone around me had a hot lunch with beefy sandwich, complete with special sauce, and a serving of hot, crispy French fries.

A woman seated across from me had her juicy chicken sandwich AND a taffy apple to boot.  That morning, I had passed on my complimentary taffy apple at work, instead opting to give it to my husband.  There she sat, enjoying both her McDonald’s and a taffy apple.  This woman knew how to live.

I couldn’t take the agony.  Slowly I ate – first a jalapeño pepper.  Might help to burn my taste buds first.  Then I had the rice/quinoa mixture.  And, finally, I closed my eyes and ate the salmon.

And since I’m here writing this story, you know that I did survive.  And the food was pretty decent.  Cold, but decent.  Plus it met all criteria for a wholesome diet.  I walked out of the food court knowing I made a healthy choice.

That afternoon I headed to the drugstore for a piece of well-deserved dark chocolate.  Slowly I unwrapped the bar and consumed the rich, creamy chocolate bar.  And I enjoyed every decadent bite.


But that, my friends, is a story for another time.

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