Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Patience, Young Jedi. Force leads to resistance.

Also crossposted at

As we jump into the the fury of the Holidays, I've been asked about New Year's Resolutions.  I don't have any.  If I want to make changes, I'll make them now.  There's no reason for me to wait symbolism of something new.  Over the course of 2010, I've become much more independent in my career leaving a very unhappy situation and starting my own firm.  Since I started taking on clients, I've learned to say "No."  And for anyone who knows me, saying "No" is probably more painful than smashing a batch of perfect macarons (the horror!).  I'll be trying to say, "No" more often in 2011. 

This blog post isn't really a resolution for me, but rather a two part lesson that I'd like to share.  Patience, Young Jedi: force may lead to resistance.

I can be very impatient, especially when I am hungry.  That, I openly disclose.  However, outside of hunger, I try to practice patience.  My 2011 challenge to businesses is to practice more patience with social media.  My approach to social media is that it is simply relationships that communicate online.  Many businesses that I've encountered are impatient with social media.  They want results, and they want them now.  On the first day of launching a Twitter campaign, someone asked me "Why isn't anyone retweeting me?" "How come I didn't make more sales?"  Patience.

Businesses aren't the only ones who are perpetrators of this attitude.  On occasion, I'll have new bloggers or tweeters contact me with questions. "How do I get to 1000 followers?"  "How do I get people to read my blog posts?"  "How do you get people to talk to you on Twitter?"

The problem I have with that attitude is that it is impatient with the relationships.  Relationships take time and effort.  People aren't machines where if put in X number of tweets, you'll make a friend.  People experience emotions, people can be cautious with others, people don't always (or shouldn't always) disclose everything online, and people need time to develop trust.  When you meet someone in a romantic context, you will rarely fully mutually disclose your deepest and darkest secrets on the first date.  You also wouldn't likely get married to that person in the first few weeks of dating.  My quick poll of my Twitter followers showed that most married couples dated for 3.36 years before tying the knot (n=14, max = 8 years). 

So why is it that our culture finds it commonplace to date and to be engaged for long periods of time before marriage, but our businesses get so pushy and antsy in other types of relationships?  Why do businesses get worried if I don't I retweet their promotions after only a few tweet exchanges?  Why do businesses think I should be loyal to them just because I mentioned them in a Facebook post? 

I don't have be pushed into a relationship.  As a consumer, I should be able to decide which brands I want to have a relationships with and which ones I don't.  So if you're using Twitter for a business, have a little patience.  Nurture the relationship.  Quit worrying about your numbers on the first day you roll out with your social media campaign.  Instead, evaluate them every 60 to 90 days.

For the second part of this lesson, we'll discuss force and resistance.  It seems like some of the best lessons in life come from dog training.  If you didn't catch it before, I train, handle, and judge dogs in various activities.  I call my type of training "motivational training."  My trainers are Debby Quigley and Judy Ramsey at Dogwood Training in Houston, TX.  With this type of training, we teach motivation first.  Everything that I ask my dog to do, I first train my dog to be motivated to do it.  If my dog is NOT motivated to do it, then as a handler, I'm doing something wrong.  While there are methods to force a dog to engage in a certain behaviors, motivational training gets more enthusiastic and reliable performances.  And the dogs also enjoy it. 
You can watch dogs in the obedience ring and see which ones were trained with force and which ones were trained with enthusiasm.  Force leads to resistance.  Sometimes trainers use it to their advantage.  The next time you see a televised dog show, watch the handler closely as the cameras zoom in.  You might notice that the handler will pull back on the dog's leash ever so slightly when the judge approaches.  The goal of this is not to get the dog to step back by pulling back, rather this slight pull (force) leads to the dog leaning forward (resistance).  When the dog leans forward in a stacked stance, the dog's muscles flex and look better toned.  Try it next time you take your dog for a walk.  For a large majority of dogs, the more you pull back, the more your dog will pull forward.  I won't get much into it, but I don't recommend that as a way of controlling your dog.  I'd recommend that you motivate your dog to stay with you, as opposed to investigating something else much more interesting than you.

The next time you think about your social media campaign, ask yourself why anyone would be motivated to follow you, tweet you, or show up to your events.  If you can't think of a good reason why, it is probably time to revamp your game plan.  If people follow you only because you give away free prizes, you might want to also revamp your game plan.  Giving stuff away free isn't building a relationship.  That's just bribing them into following you.  With tactics like that, you'll gather more variable and less loyal followers.  Getting followers through bribes isn't much of a community.  Please note: That tactic is very different from playing online or social games within your community that involves a free prize.  These are two very different concepts.  Motivate them to want to build a relationship with you. 

Happy New Year, and Patience, Young Jedi.  Force leads to resistance. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

@IndyBrewing Dinner at Mansion on Judge's Hill, Sunday, Janurary 16th

If you haven't already heard, Mansion at Judge's Hill will be hosting an Independence Beer dinner on Sunday, January 16th.  That's five courses and five beers.  The tickets are a steal at $60, and they make the perfect gift for the food and beer lover in your life.  *Hint Hint*  Call 512-495-1857 to order your tickets.  Tickets are limited.

I attended a test run of the dinner so you get to enjoy a little virtual teaser.  Passed appetizers will be Boursin and Portabella Crostini with Oven Dried Cherry Tomato and Fried Boudin Balls with Spicy Remoulade paired with Austin Amber.  The menu has changed slightly since the test dinner, so I didn't have the Fried Boudin Balls. 

Next up was the Kobe Slider with Sage Derby, Mole, Balsamic Onions, House-Made Sweet Pickles, Parmesan-Truffle Gaufrettes served with Bootlegger Brown.  The slider was fantastically juicy, flavorful, interesting with mole, sage, and sweet onions.  The effervescence of the Bootlegger paired wonderfully with the richness of the slider.  I couldn't definitely see this type of pairing on a happy hour menu.  I'd eat this for breakfast, lunch, happy hour, and dinner. 

Salad. Butter Lettuce Wedge, Champagne Soaked Apricots and Cherries, Bleu Cheese, Smoked Pistachio Vinaigrette, Candied Pistachios with Stash IPA.  If you've ever had a meal with me, you'll know that I am not a salad fan.  I enjoy some types of salads, but I'm generally not a fan of the lettuce-based salads.  With that said, I really liked this salad.  I mean really, really liked.  The smokiness of the vinaigrette, paired with sweet and tart dried fruits, and the pungent aroma of the bleu cheese made this a fantastic salad.  The bold and citrus-y Stash IPA was a great palate cleanser for the rich dressing. 

Main course: Shrimp, Chevre & Black Pepper Grits, Braised Collard Greens, Citrus Chipotle Vinaigrette served with Freestyle.  The crisp and dry Freestyle was a perfect compliment to the spiced shrimp and it cut through the creaminess of the chevre.  This pairing was delicately balanced with flavors and textures.  This was also the first time that I've had collard greens, and I liked them.  This course really reminded me of visiting the Texas coast: spicy shrimp and a refreshing beer.  I'm going to order shrimp and beer next time I visit Corpus Christi.
Dessert: Up-side down Molasses Pear Cake, Convict Hill Ice Cream, Convict Hill Caramel, Toasted Almonds served with Convict Hill.  The combination of the pear and molasses is straight-up comfort food.  I frequently ate pears (we had a tree in the backyard), and I love pear desserts.  So I might be slightly biased in my opinion here.  Nonetheless, this is another delicious and comforting pairing. 

Now that you have an idea of the deliciousness that is to come on January, 16th, you better buy some tickets quickly.  Word is that many tickets have already sold.  And buy them in bulk.  Good beer and good food is even better with good friends.  Hope to see ya there!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Barbeque Trailer in the Middle of Nowhere, otherwise known as Roan's Prairie

You know the saying.  The further away from civilization, the better the barbeque.  I was driving back to Austin from Huntsville, TX when this little gem was spotted.  It was a trailer at a four way stop in Roan's Prairie, TX.  The last documented statistic I could find from the year 2000 stated that the population of Roan's Prairie was 56.  Given the small population and trailer set up, I had to try them. 

Here it is.  The trailer in all its glory.  I was asked what I did for a living as I wasn't one of the regulars that drove by this stop.  I told him, and they were surprised.  Yes, really, I'm an adjunct professor.  They claimed that I looked like I was 18 years old.  There was no way, according to the trailer-keeper, that I was old enough to teach.  I'm plenty old! 

The menu is pretty inexpensive.  I was about to get a three meat plate, chopped bbq sandwich, and a dessert for less than $20. 

This trailer is not fancy.

Mmmmm.......... the delicious smoked meat.  It is true.  The smaller the town, the tastier the bbq. 

This homemade pecan pie was also wonderfully simple and easy.  Sometimes desserts just don't need muss and fuss. 

If you're ever driving through Roan's Prairie, stop on by and grab some meat. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Naan and Pie: Two new fabulous food finds.

I don't typically post about products, but here's two very different products that are absolutely amazing.  Naan and Pie.  They have nothing to do with each other besides the fact that I recently discovered  them.  For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to make a mutton bryiani.  I went to Madina Market to pick up some mutton (goat), and I wandered around the store to find some naan to serve with the bryiani.  I asked the store manager (he's the one behind the cash registered every time I visit) which brand was his favorite, and he immediately pointed to a bin right in front of the checkout counter.  The brand is Sher-e-Punjab made in Canada.  I don't believe there is a website for the company.  Upon his advice, I purchased two packages of the naan, zaatar green, a samosa, and a chicken roti.  The samosas there are only $1, and while they aren't my very favorite, they suffice.  The chicken roti rolls ($2) are absolutely amazing.  Roasted chicken is rolled in roti bread along with mint chutney and silvered onions.  Best lunch you will get for $2.

I served the naan along with zaatar green and olive oil on Thanksgiving Day, and it was a hit.  The naan can be microwaved or toasted. and either way, it is the best naan I have ever had.  I hate to say it, but this premade naan is better than even homemade.  Below was a photograph of the naan and bowl of zaatar green. I only like the WHOLE WHEAT naan from this brand.  I tried the garlic and the original, and they were just meh. 

The inside of the naan is light and fluffy.  The outside is perfectly toasted and golden brown.  Words cannot do justice the texture of the naan.  It is fantastic, and pre-made nonetheless.  I currently have three bags of naan in my freezer now.  To serve, I pop it into my toaster over for one dark toast cycle.  Serve with hummus, olive oil, or zattar green.  I get mine at Madina Market at Rundberg and Lamar in North Austin.  It may be available at other markets as well.  If you buy some, pick up a few for me.  Also, have a samosa or chicken roll up.

This chocolate is the second delicious item that has really impressed me.  It isn't something that you can buy off the shelf like naan; it is the chocolate pie from Monument Cafe.  I recently received one of these pies courtesy of Monument Cafe.  I put it into the fridge without really giving it much though.  Later that night, my sister came over for dinner so we broke out the pie.  This is no ordinary pie. The chocolate filling is thicker than a chocolate mousse, and not too sweet.  The crust is literally candied walnuts.  We had this pie with 512 Brewing Pecan Porter, and it is amazing.  At the next dessert and beer pairing, I will serve this pie with Pecan Porter.

These $20 pies at Monument Cafe are a cheap ticket to heaven. 48 hours advanced notice for the pies (because I will eat them all).  Thank you to Monument Cafe for the delicious treat.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where's your face @WalnutCafe? #bbc10

Saturday morning, @hopsafari/@windaddict and I took a little stroll down to Walnut Cafe.  He read on Yelp that they had a blueberry cornbead, and that was enough to get us moving.  Needless to say, there were many other interesting aspects of Walnut Cafe.  One of the first things that I noticed were all the photos of faces.  There were faces everywhere. 

On the walls, on the menus, on their car out back were photos of customers. All of their materials were printed with photos of their customers.  I absolutely love, love, love this community building strategy.  There's no website for people to sign up and to post there comments.  This was a community of loyal customers. 

Check out all those smiling faces.  I happened to meet the owners of Walnut Cafe.  They have a photo day in which customers can come in to get their photo taken.  You joined the community "board" by showing up and getting your photo taken.  The photos are later used on the menu and other advertising.  Apparently, customers really want to be on the menu, and they are annoyed when their photo doesn't make it.  That is a pretty awesome situation for a restaurant.  When you have people who want to be the face of your brand, you're doing a pretty damn good job. 

Oh, and @hopsafari had a Walnut Latte.  Yum. 

The quiche was pretty fantastic.  Tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and cheese melted together into a hearty and tasty breakfast.  The breakfast potatoes were wonderfully seasoned and spicy. 

@Hopsafari had the eggs marcos (eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese) with breakfast potatoes and blueberry cornbread.  I loved the eggs marcos.  It reminded me of putting cream cheese on eggs when I was in undergrad.  The cornbread was also wonderfully tasty.  It was solid in structure, simple in flavor, and comforting. 

Really appreciating your customer.  This one comes to Walnut Cafe every single day.  He gets to be the face of their restaurant. 

Another shot of the customer heavy menu.  I want to be on the menu. 

Not only are the customers on the menus, they are the vehicles.  I'm starting to feel that this restaurant isn't for the food (however, tasty), but really for the community. 

And the pies are award winning.  I love this concept. 

More happy customers on the car. 

In addition to the two Walnut Cafe locations, they also have a brand new food truck. 

Here I am, in the Walnut Cafe truck. 

In addition to having an awesome customer community, the food truck community in Boulder is unique.  All the food trucks have a name and identity separate from the food.  Walnut Creek truck's name is Dinah.  The StrEat's truck name is Tina.  Hear that, Austin?  Name your food trucks.  They need to have an identity, and their own community.  I love to anthorphomize objects, and giving a food truck a name and identity is perfect. 

Another shot of the brand spanking new truck. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Are you a Village Virgin? Old Fashioned Word of Mouth and Old Fashioned Food. #bbc10

If the brunch spots @HopSafari (also @windaddict) and I visited are any indication of the food community in Boulder, this place is hopping.  Village Coffee was an awesome experience for us, but more than that, the word of mouth strategy was new, fun, and refreshing.  I checked into Village Coffee on Gowalla, and I saw a little tag that said to make sure to tell the staff that it is our first visit.  So I did.  First time Village Coffee visitors are called Village Virgins.  The restaurant calls out the Virgins, literally.  The staff yells "EXCUSE ME, EVERYONE! WE HAVE A VILLAGE VIRGIN!"  Everyone in the restaurant cheers, and then resumes their meal.  The virgins aren't scoffed at or picked on.  They are applauded with a warm welcome.  What a better way to welcome newbies?

Whoever brought the Village Virgins gets a stamp on their Village V-card.  Bring in three virgins and you get a free half order of French toast.  After six virgins, you get a free pancake.  After eight virgins, you get any free breakfast.  After ten virgins, you get a free shirt.  This is a genius plan.  This isn't just rewarding customers who visit frequently, but it rewards customers who bring in new customers.  This is word of mouth, offline, and I absolutely love it.  I'll also note that there is a sign up at Village Coffee with a sign saying that they had a Facebook.  The sign also says that they are crawling into the 21st century.  That just goes to show that you don't need a fancy social media strategy to use word of mouth. 

I love the unpretentiousness and simple, down to Earth atmosphere.

One of the staff at Village Coffee snaps a photo for us. 

The chicken fried steak, eggs, and hash browns. 

 The egg burrito with green chile pork stew.  Delicious!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Women in Craft Beer Post from #BBC10

Biologically, men and women are not the same.  No one seems to have a problem with that statement.  Men (the blue curve) and women (the red curve) differ on height.  The average man is taller than the average woman.  And that's just fine.  No one gets angry about that. 

The average woman can naturally lactate (with the right combination of hormones after giving birth) better than men, on average.  I'm sure some man out there will find the "how-to" articles online, achieve lactation, and write me about it.  I've heard of it happening too.  I want to see some video proof.
The average man can probably grow a #Movember mustache better than the average woman, for the most part.  I'm sure there are some women out there who are really good at growing facial hair (hence the blue and red curve overlap), but I digress.  Also, I'm on the #TeamAUS #Movember team.  I'm growing a Mohawk for #Movember.  Donate to my team if you can. 

However, when one brings up differences in behavior and preferences in men and women, feathers get ruffled.  Data shows that women and men are indeed different, behaviorally.  There is a plethora of evidence that shows that our brains develop differently, which is mostly driven by the types of hormones each gender is exposed to during development in the uterus and beyond (nature).  Men and women like different things and communicate in different ways.  These differences are independent of nurture, socialization, culture, and media.  Some of these behavioral differences have been shown in babies as young as four weeks old.  Some of these differences have been replicated in non-human animals as well which is evidence that the differences are not due to environmental effects.  I can't remember the last time I witnessed monkeys or rats in the wild reading Cosmo or Hustler.  Differences between male and females of the respective species cannot be attributed to obvious social pressures.  Different isn't wrong, and different isn't bad.  Different is good

I've been involved in many male-dominated communities  From performance driving, auto-crossing, clean driving, start-ups, science, tech, and the beer industry, I'm surrounded by men.  Rarely is there ever an issue that I'm a woman.  On occasion, a big jerk will come onto the scene trying to start some trouble, but those instances are rare and infrequent.  I've noticed that in the other previously listed areas there have been movements for women.  Women in Tech and TedWomen are just two.   With the development of these groups, there seems to be two basic reactions: 1) I'm offended. We don't need a separate group to hang with the men. We are just as capable as men.  2) I like having the companionship and support of other women. 

The formation of the women centered subgroups can cause massive disruption, no pun intended.  Read @michellegreer's blogpost about her experience here.  The behavior of some of the men in those communities is completely unacceptable to me.  Those big meanies better keep hiding behind their computers for my ninjas are truly unhappy.  The situation was worsened when there was a panel on women in tech at Tech Disrupt.  To make matter worse on top of that, some jerk of an angel investor asked for a booty call

Something similar happened at the Women in Craft Beer panel at #bbc10 (minus the booty call, I think).  Individual opinions were expressed about the state of women in craft beer, and that didn't go over so well with the audience.  Instead of having a clear theme of advocating for women in the industry, individual opinions clashed with each other.  My statement from the audience was that having women leaders in the field is pretty cool.  I love @chocolatestout and @lyonsgal.  On occasion there will be that big jerk in the beer community (very, very, very rare in the beer community), and I find it nice when women can be supportive of each other and show that big jerk a thing or two in brewing.   I left that panel with mixed emotions.  This was a community that flaunted supportiveness, tolerance, and understanding, but the tone of the conference seemed to change drastically after the panel. 
Ultimately, the potential for passion in the craft beer industry in men and women can be the same.  Men and women can equally become movers and shakers in the craft beer industry.  How someone decides to promote their blog to men or women is their own decision.  I don't care what demographic reads my blog.  If I inspire just one person of any gender (or even those who are unsure of their own gender) to try craft beer, that's cool.  If someone wants to communicate with me because I'm a woman in craft beer, that's cool too.  I don't have any big agenda on my blog nor do I directly gain anything financially.  Though I've sold quite a few Thirsty Bird Threads items, it will ultimately be a financial loss as I donate the proceeds to the Texas Craft Brewer's Guild and other causes.  I'm quite okay with outcome, as it is my hobby and passion.  I've spent 100s times more on dog showing than I have in the craft beer industry.  :o)  I have a day job to pay the bills. 

You can read about other attendees' posts about the issue here.

If you want to know about the conference demographics, check out my chart below.  These were the numbers provided by Allan Wright.  Nearly on third of the conference attendees were women (incredibly hot women if I must say so myself).  @StoneGreg was lucky to get to have his photo taken with them. 
*The statistician in me requires that I add 1% unsure as the gender classifications were not self-reported.
**My research area is in hormones and behaviors, specifically sex hormones and sex behaviors.  I'm happy to provide references for the data I cite.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Real Ale, Real Feast @HighballAustin & Join the "Last Call"

@Hopsafari and I were very fortunate to be invited to a mouth-watering beer pairing dinner at the Highball.  Tim Schwartz from Real Ale and the wonderful chefs at the Highball put on a tasty meal that craft beer lovers would appreciate.  If you want to join in on another really awesome beer event at the Highball, word on the street is that the "Last Call" event should not be missed.  That's right. If you miss it, you will be sad. You might cry.  The even includes some favorite beers, some extremely rate beers, and tasty food pairings by Highball Chef Matt Richter.  Abridged menu follows:
  • (512) Brewing - Whiskey Barrel Aged Double Pecan Porter - Cask,  ONE Brandy Barrel Aged,  TWO Double IPA
  • Real Ale - 2009 Sisyphus - Cask, Coffee Porter, Devil's Backbone, Mysterium Verum (a secret whiskey barreled aged beauty)
  • Live Oak - Old Tree Hugger - Cask,  Liberation Ale - Cask
  • Independence Brewing Company - Stash IPA - Cask,  Convict Hill Stout - Cask,  6th Anniversary Braggot,  Groovin' Leuven - Head Brewer Justin Rizza's Red IPA!
  • Saint Arnold Brewing Company - Christmas Ale
  • Cheese Plate - Featuring Chimay, Guinness Cheddar, Bleu, Wisconsin-Aged Cheddar, Fireman's 4 Beer Bread, Hops-Pickled Vegetables, Nuts, Fruit, Crackers
  • Sweet Potato Gaufrettes - Herbed Creme Fraiche
  • Beef Roulade - Smoked, Beer Braised Kale, Apple Mostarda
  • Pretzel Sliders - Pretzel Bread, Beer Braised Sausage, Slaw
  • Chocolate Stout Cake - Framboise Raspberry filling, Ganache coating
Tickets to the "Last Call" are only $35, and you will get $10 off you membership to the Texas Craft Brewer's Guild.  Membership levels are at $40 and $75, not including the $10 off.  There will be two "Last Call" sessions on Saturday night.  Membership to non-breweries only opened this week, so hop on it to join.  Now let's get back to food porn business.  Photos by John M. P. Knox.

First course of the Real Ale dinner was beer nuts and Fireman's 4.  This is was a great, snack-y way to start off the meal. 

Next up was the Peach Soup with Devil's Backbone Foam paired with Devil's Backbone.  This mildly sweet and light soup was a great foundation for the Devil's Backbone Foam.  The foam had quite a bit of a body as did the soup, so that both were balanced, and neither was lost in the other. 

Brewer Tim Schwartz introduces the next course. 

Hans Pilsner Braised Pork Belly on grilled beer bread, mustard, and pickled onions served with salad and bacon vinaigrette paired with Han's Pilsner.

These pork belly sliders were done right *in a twangy Texan accent.*  Fatty (read tasty) cuts of meat on malty sweet bread, dressed with spicy mustard, and tart, pungent onions.  I'm drooling again, and I just had dinner. 

Pairing the pork belly sliders with Han's Pilsner is oh-so-delicious because the clean, crispy beer cuts the fat of the pork belly.  Cuts the fat meaning holds up to the richness by counterbalancing it.  Yum.

The crowd awaits the next course. 

IPA rubbed tenderloin, cheddar mash, and haricot verts paired with Lost Gold IPA.  This hearty dish was fanastic with the Lost Gold IPA.  Also, I have thing for haricot verts (French beans).  I love them. 

Brewhouse beer caramels paired with Barrel-aged Lost Gold IPA.  The last course was a real treat as barrel-aged beers can be incredibly complex and intense in flavors.  Paired with a malty beer caramel and chocolate pretzel, this was a tasty dinner and beer to remember. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Food Porn @UchikoAustin

I'm annoyed.  I've been to Uchiko Austin on six separate occasions, and still I'm not mayor of Uchiko.  However, I do have most of the menu memorized, and I'm happy to report that the Shag Roll is now available at Uchiko.  I'm also happy to take you on a food porn journey.  Photos and video by John M. P. Knox.

Video by @HopSafari

Designed by Michael Hsu. I hate to say it, but I love the decor of Uchiko better than Uchi. 

The outside is just gorgeous. 

The interior space is equally as stunning as the outside.  Pay special attention to the wood tiles on that far back wall and the decor on shelves above the sushi bar.

The chefs at Uchiko know how to use a grill.  I'm hungry just looking at this Yakitori photo.  I must say that the grilled meat dishes, specifcally the ika yaka are fanastic!

Chef Paul Qui slicing up some beautiful tuna for the Akami te. 

Chef Paul Qui and Chef Phillip Speer preparing the Akami te - tuna, compressed watermelon, cilantro, and chiles.

Those are some tiny chopsticks.  Sashimi over compressed watermelon.  @Hopsafari has a video of Chef Tyson Cole working his magic chopsticks.  The video (above) also includes Chef Tyson putting my cell phone into the compressor. 

Tuna, compressed watermelon sashimi fresh cilantro, lime, coriander, maldon.  The textures and flavors of the tuna and watermelon were refreshing and cool.  Unfortunately, Akami te is no longer on the official menu, but they'll make it by request. 

Chef Phillip Speer preparing delicious tobacco cream dessert tastings.  This is one of my favorite Chef Phillip creations, and I'm not a fan of tobacco. Remember to taste all the components together.

Tobacco cream chocolate sorbet, maple budino, huckleberry, scotch.  I. Love. This. Dessert.

I really loved the homemade corn flakes, but the corn sorbet dessert didn't blow me away like the tobacco cream does.  @Hopsafari really loves this one, and I really love the corn flake.  I mean really love corn flakes. I can eat an entire box of corn flakes in a single sitting. 

Gyutan Nigiri - grilled beef tongue, fish caramel, maldon. I've had beef tongue many times throughout my life.  It is usually boiled, sliced, and rubbed with raw garlic.  It is also usually very rubbery and meaty.  This grilled beef tongue was smoky, tender, delicate, and fantastic. 

Live Atlantic Clam topped with uni and roe garnished with herbs.  Chef Paul Qui served this bad boy up while it was still moving.  Check it out in the video (above).  I think the key to this dish was that all the components were amazingly fresh, subtle in flavor, and balanced in texture. 

Uni - sea urchin, basil, meyer lemon. I realize that some people don't like uni.  I really like uni.  This uni was exceptionally fresh, full of umani flavor, and brightened with the flavor of the basil and lemon.

I don't see this particular roll on the regular menu.  However, order anything with garlic mousse on the menu.  It is pretty darn fantastic. 

I always order the take nabe - japanese mushroom, koshi hikari, farm fresh egg, bushi.  The heat from the dish causes the bushi to dance making this hearty dish a beautiful display of art.  Along with the ika yaki and the tempura nasu, this dish also has a very comforting component to it.  This tastes like something I grew up eating.  I do feel that way about many of the Uchiko dishes.  I'll also add that though I love this dish, it is a tad salty.  I always ask for it without salt. 

Yokai berry, atlantic salmon, dinosaur kale, asian pear, and yuzu.  This dish is another offering that places with color, texture, and flavors.  The delicately crispy kale, paired with the juicy crunch of the asian pear, sweet berries, firm yet fatty salmon, and tart yuzu play well together.  It is both refreshing and interesting.

Koviche - fresh diver scallop, tomatillo, kalamata, black lime. This one is certainly an interesting play on flavors and textures.  Tomatillo isn't commonly served with scallops, and I think that it one of the strengths of this dish = the pairing of unlikely ingredients. 

Crunchy Tuna Roll - white tuna, avocado, jalapeƱo, English cucumber, aioli.  You can't go wrong with this delicious roll. 

Chevre fondant, tomato sorbet, sicilian pistachio croquant.  This amazing dessert was almost like eating a sweet margarita pizza. The flavors were pretty unexpected, yet oddly familiar at the same time.  This one is for the adventurous eater. 

This dessert is no longer on the menu, and I remember it being sorbet with fennel chips.  I found this to be one of the most interesting offerings at Uchiko, period.  I really enjoyed it, and perhaps it'll be back soon. 

There you have it.  The Uchiko Food Porn, where you can shag all night long.