Every Thursday night we have bell choir practice. We enjoy it. It's musical, challenging, and puts us in contact with a group of people in the church that we wouldn't otherwise know. And usually after practice we go out to eat. It's become our once-a-week restaurant meal. It's too early for us to eat before practice (and get there on time), but by the time we finish it's tough to get home and get a meal ready without Maxine getting cranky. (Doesn't help that Horyon and I get a bit cranky, too.)
Tonight after bell choir, we went to a Japanese restaurant downtown called "Wa". Turns out the chefs and owner are Korean. The food was very good, and very similar to Japanese food we ate in Korea. Horyon stuffed herself, and I had enough. We had some raw fish, u-don (a thick noodle) soup, and some California rolls that had raw fish, avocado, and some other stuff that I couldn't identify but surely enjoyed eating. The raw fish was good--we haven't had any since moving here from Korea. But we were reminded of one disadvantage that Kansas has: the fish was frozen, not fresh. As Horyon pointed out, you wouldn't want to eat fish in Kansas that hadn't been frozen, as it is too far from any ocean to manage safely. For the same amount of money back in Korea, we would have had a fish pulled right out of a tank where it had been swimming obliviously, then cut into bite-size chunks and served at a temperature not much above the water it had been swimming in.
You can tell the difference, because fresh fish is very firm, and the flavor is still intact. Not that it has a very strong flavor; don't get caught thinking about the smell of a fishing boat. No connection there. It's a very subtle flavor. I like it dipped in soy sauce mixed with wasabi (a sort of green Japanese horseradish sauce). Koreans prefer it dipped in red chili pepper paste mixed with sesame oil and chopped green onions. People who aren't used to eating raw fish have trouble with the texture, too. I think this is mostly mental, based on preconceptions of what raw fish "should" feel like. But when it's fresh, raw fish has a unique feel to it, unlike anything else. A tiny bit chewy, less so than cooked chicken thigh.
It was an expensive meal ($70 including tip, no drinks), but Horyon's parents had sent us about $100 to celebrate our 7th anniversary, which was two Sundays ago. We decided to wait until we were a bit healthier before going out. Even though I'm not up to 100% yet, we figured a bell choir night was a good time to go. My folks are coming next week to take care of Maxine, but we figured that without Maxine we can eat just about anywhere and enjoy it. Something about being able to have a conversation without being interrupted, or having to do damage control, or making sure someone at the table has enough food that she will eat.
Well, I've got a job for tomorrow at Southwest Jr. High. I'd better get to bed.