Every year I make a list of new things I want to try. Some of them are easy. Some are difficult. Some are shockingly mundane. You can read about past adventures here.
Friends, it may shock you to discover that Minneapolis, landlocked and cold, is not a city known for its sushi. What? I know. I’m as surprised as you are.
And truth be told, I don’t care. I don’t actually like sushi. I usually only eat fish that were caught by my dad from the lake in front of our house. But! This list is about adventure! And trying new things! And apparently hard-to-find, expensive novelty food.
So when I finally found a restaurant in the Twin Cities that carries fugu, I obviously arranged a Facebook event for my friends and reserved a table for 14 on a blustery Thursday night. And by the time we all ducked in from the cold and got settled and requested menus, the staff informed us that, well, they didn’t actually have any blowfish sushi left.
Apparently, they get a shipment of the fish every Monday and sometimes? They use it all up by midweek. But don’t worry! They still had flaming fugu sake!
What’s that? It’s a juice glass full of rice wine with two leathery fish fins floating in it. Set on fire.
We had made the reservations. We’d stumbled through the snow. We’d paid for parking downtown. I was going to pay $15 for this flaming fish wine and I was going to drink it.
So I did.
And you know what it tasted like? Exactly what you’d imagine a glass of rice wine with fish fins floating in it tastes like. After it’s been set on fire.
I took a sip and passed it around the table and it came back to me still suspiciously full. So I dug the fins out with my chopsticks, drank it like a shooter, nearly gagged, and then settled into a light buzz while I ate my $11 broccolini in brown sauce. The night culminated with one very brave friend eating the fins on a $12 dare.
“Gristle-y” he announced.
Have you ever had fugu? Would you?