As I mentioned previously, one of the assignments for the six week sensuality course offered by The Welcomed Consensus is to eat a gourmet meal, and pay attention to all of our senses throughout the course of the meal. So, I took myself out for sushi, and here are my notes:
Rockstar parking = immediate positive emotional sensation. Scent of amazing sushi upon opening the door. Slight chill in the restaurant – I feel it in mostly in my shoulder, since I’m wearing a tank top, and the soles of my feet. I’ve chosen to sit in the traditional section of the restaurant – on pillows, shoes removed, wooden screens separating the tables, dim lighting, and soft Japanese music.
A family is seated next to me, and it’s interesting listening to the parents explain the menu to their children. Across from me are two old friends who, seemingly, don’t see one another often. Next to them is an adorable couple.
The carpet is a bit rough below my feet, and the pillow is soft. The wood of the tables and screens is golden, and paired with the soft golden lighting, a warm glow permeates the room, despite the chilled air.
My server is beautiful. Smooth skin, perfectly coiffed hair, full red lips. Her voice is a bit nasal and her accent is a little thick.
Touching my shoulder, my hand feels much warmer than I expected. The warm towel briefly feels amazing on my hands. Once I’ve wiped them and the warmth has dissipated from the towel, the chill returns with abundance, followed by a softness.
Ice water hits my teeth with a sharp intensity and chills my mouth, throat, stomach. Several minutes after, my mouth remains cold.
The murkiness of my miso soup invites me to stir, to see all the green flecks of chive and seaweed, and the white cubes of tofu. The aroma wafts up to my nostrils and I am grateful for the soup’s warmth. The distinct, salty, pungent flavor of miso fills my mouth again and again. I chew the seaweed and mash the tofu with my tongue against the roof of my mouth. The wet broth slides across my tongue, down my throat, and I feel it settle into my stomach.
I take a drink of ice water and the chill returns. Thankfully, I’ve ordered hot sake, and it has cooled enough to drink, so I take some into my mouth from the warm, white porcelain cup. The light flavor fills my mouth, slightly burns the back of my throat as it hits, and leaves my tongue with a deliciously dry coating. A second sip and the burn at the back of my throat transitions to a cooling sensation, similar to menthol, and glides further down my throat, warming/cooling into my chest. A third sip and it’s the same, maintaining both sensation and location.
My sever brigs my sushi rolls and I smell, simultaneously, the unagi sauce, spicy salmon sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi. If I concentrate on one particular aroma, it stands out. The fragrance causes me to salivate. Green, brown, pink, white…the colors are beautiful.
As I take another sip of sake, I notice my mouth has become slightly sticky, toward the back. Interesting. The next sip burns a bit more, and I feel the sensation in my stomach. And with the next sip, I feel a tingle in my lower sinus cavities…then upper.
I pour soy sauce into my dipping dish and watch as the pool grows ever bigger, misshapen, eventually filling the circular bottom of the bowl and rising slightly up the sides. The salty aroma fills my nose.
My chop sticks are very light in my hand and rest comfortably in my fingers, picking up the first piece of each roll and placing them on my plate.
I begin to feel a buzzing from the sake in the front of my head, behind my eyes, as I take my first bite. Unagi. Delectable. Salty. Sweet. Creamy. Delicious. The rice, eel, avocado, sauce, and seaweed fill my entire mouth. Chew. Swallow. Amazing. Spicy salmon. More chewy. I feel the spice in my sinuses.
I can imagine the sensation of wasabi, in combination with the sushi rolls, taking charge of my nose and head, but don’t partake because I’m not a fan of the flavor of horseradish of any kind.
I alternate unagi with spicy salmon as I eat and the alcohol sends a fuzzy feeling throughout my limbs. Occasionally, I taste more sweetness in a particular piece of the unagi roll, and the spice of the salmon is stronger. I feel and taste these differences on different parts of my tongue.
About half way through my meal, I switch things up and eat two pieces of spicy salmon back to back. One is a bit more marbled than the other. I eat the less marbled piece first. It’s firm and wonderful. The second piece is larger and fills my cheeks. The sensation on my tongue and inner cheeks from the spice intensifies, especially on the back of my tongue. I eat a third piece of spicy salmon in a row, and the sensation builds further, down to the tip of my tongue. With the final piece of salmon, the spicy sensation has overtaken my entire tongue and the roof of my mouth. With another sip of sake, the burn intensifies and includes my cheeks.
I take some ginger to cleanse my palate before finishing the unagi and it calms the burn. The sensation of chewing the ginger sends chills down my spine and vibrates my skull. The combination of ginger and ice water dissipates the burn from the spicy salmon and I’m ready to finish the creamy, sweet unagi.
The eel and avocado melt on my tongue and dance their flavors in my mouth. I drench the final piece in the remaining sauce on the plate and the flavor is outstanding, covering my tongue with its complex deliciousness.
I finish my meal with one final sip of sake and it has cooled, gently washing away the flavors of the unagi.
My server brings me an orange half, sliced and paired with a toothpick for easy eating. The orange is juicy and a little bland after the strength of my meal. The juice fills my mouth as I chew, squirting from the orange to the back of my throat.
My ice water clears the flavors of the orange and cools my mouth, though my body has acclimated to the temperature of the restaurant, so I only feel other coldness on the tops of my shoulders when I concentrate on it.
An Andes mint comes with my check. The crunch as I bite it in half gives way to a creamy, melty, sweet, and slightly cool sensation coating my tongue, teeth, the roof of my mouth, and cheeks. It has melted by the time I swallow. With the second half, I swish it around in my mouth, smashing it with my tongue, transforming my saliva into candy, until the mint has entirely melted and disappeared down my throat.
And with that, I pay, tip well, and leave. My meal is finished.