TP: Austin Trip – Day 2

November 21, 2009

11/21/2009

Uchi

Our day started at 1PM.  That’s when we woke up anyway.  It took the next 4 hours and all of our combined will power to get ready to go eat sushi with Margo at Uchi.  You see, whatever may have happened after we left Sazón the night before may be murky, what we are certain of is that there was a lot of beer involved.  A LOT of beer.  Hunter was as green as I’ve ever seen him.  I felt horrible for him as he became quite intimate with the porcelain God in our hotel room over the course of the afternoon.  Somehow, I was spared the usual headache-filled day of hell I’m accustomed to experiencing after a night of revelry.  I attribute this to the large glass of water I drank the night before as I was crawling into bed and the large lunch I had on Friday, though who can say for sure?

Somehow we managed to pull ourselves together and met Margo at Uchi.  Now, if you are not familiar with Uchi, I should probably explain it a bit.   It is owned by executive chef and sushi master Tyson Cole.  Tyson Cole, who spent over a year in Tokyo, New York and Austin perfecting his sushi talents, has appeared as a competitor on the Iron Chef in a battle with Masaharu Morimoto.   He’s won accolades in national food magazines too numerous to mention here.   And we had to go with a hangover.  ::sigh::

We made the best of it and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  Each course (and there were about 12) was presented with a detailed introduction by a waiter or waitress which included the ingredients and best way to consume it.   We were fortunate to go with our own local celebrity chef, Margo.  Well, it’s possible he’s not a celebrity but it sure seemed that way as everyone in the place seemed to know him and took a moment to stop and chat with him.  We even were privileged to receive a shag roll on he house (and oh my…it was awesome!)

We selected the 6 course Omakase, which literally means “entrust” or ‘chef’s choice’ in Japanese  (one of the few Japanese words I actually knew before we went)  I’m glad we did, because we were presented with a perfect array of dishes that ranged from cold to hot, hearty to whimsical and we even ended up with 2 desserts, though I’m not sure that was technically a part of the Omakase…they were very generous to us.  There were too many dishes to detail them all here, but I think I’ll do a quick listing of my favorites:

maguro sashimi and goat cheese with cracked pepper, fuji apple and pumpkin seed oil  – Whoever would have thought to pair goat cheese and sashimi?  Not me, but it was absolutely heavenly.  The silkiness and slight saltiness of the cheese was a perfect match to the sashimi, fruit and pumpkin seed oil (which is quite delicate, I might add.)

bacon sen roasted pork belly with granny smith apple puree, cilantro, sherry vinegar and shaved fennel – Fatback…yes, I’m quite serious…it was fatback, roasted, sliced and served with the most amazing apple puree and crisp shaved fennel.  Another dish that I’d never imagine trying anywhere else, but am glad to have tasted now.

hotate spicy scallop with avocado – A hand roll, almost too big for one bite, but we all managed it.  The avocado and the scallop were almost of the same texture, but the flavor was out of this world!  I will definitely include this one on our list next time we go.  Sublime!!!

shag roll tempura fried bond roll with salmon and squid ink sumiso sauce – Maybe the best sushi roll I’ve ever eaten?  Yes, definitely.  The tempura batter was almost etheral it was so delicate.  I was stuffed by the time this one arrived, but I still managed to get two pieces down anyway…it was amazing.

Finally, I forget it’s actual name, but of the two deserts, there was one called “everything hazelnut” and it was so yummy.  I’m not a “peanut butter in desserts” kind of person, so I didn’t feel as inspired by the peanut butter semi freddo with apple-miso sorbet & ringo crisps, except for the garnish…the “ringo crisps.”  These were texturally delicate yet intensely flavored dehydrated apple disks…I don’t know how else to describe it…and they were amazing.  Imagine if you will, an apple, thinly sliced and dehydrated (freeze dried, possibly?) to a thickness of less than 1/16 of an inch.  It practically melted on your tongue and the flavor was like AppleX100.  I don’t know how they accomplished that one?   Citric acid maybe?  Soaking it in reduced apple juice before dehydrating/freeze drying it possibly?  Whatever they did, it was possibly the most impressive thing I had there (not only because I’m still trying to work how they did it out. LOL)

Uchi was definitely a foodie’s decadent indulgence…and the three foodies at our table had an amazing night.  (It was funny to see Margo do exactly what I do when I go out, he tried to break down each dish in his head on exactly how each dish was created and what was in it…I’m so glad I’m not the only one!)  We are already planning a return trip next year!  Margo, you’re invited!

Texas Tower

After the sushi, Hunter was feeling better (and I started feeling queasy) but we soldiered on.  Margo dropped us off at the stadium and we began our trek to our seats.  For anyone who’s been to Memorial Stadium and sat in the upper atmospheric seats in the north end zone section, you know that you must walk up 10 stories to reach your seats.  10 stories…after sushi…with a hangover…OMG.  BUT I did it, somehow.  I even managed to eat a hotdog sometime after halftime, if you can believe it.

Texas beat KU 51-10.  Hunter, ever the proud Jayhawk, wore his blue and red and stood out like a sore thumb.  There were quite a few KU fans though, and Texas fans are polite enough unless you’re a jackass, so there were no problems with me taking the enemy into home territory (just kidding sweetie.)  It was Senior night for Texas so we got to watch Colt McCoy fire Smokey the Cannon, beat on Big Bertha, and then touch the hand of every fan standing by the field wanting to do so.   Damn I love me some Colt McCoy!  We walked by the tower, the top lit up in Orange for the night’s victory, on the way back to the Drag where Margo picked us up.  It really made me miss being at UT…damn I love that school.

After the game we beat a quick retreat to the hotel and turned in early.

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