Shady Park

Whenever a sweet spring turns into scorching summer, residents of the Sonoran Desert always begin to appreciate just how precious shade can be. Local communities have decidedly mixed records in cultivating shade, sometimes leaving master plans unfulfilled for years and relying on engineered shade structures that may be artistic but also less effective than planting more trees. When a place offers genuine shade, then, it’s worth celebrating. Shady Park, a combination of a restaurant and a nightclub in Tempe, calls out its two abundantly shaded patios in its name.

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Harumi Sushi

There aren’t a lot of purple foods, but those that lie somewhere between red and blue tend to be vibrant and surprising. Think of the complex purple of grapes, the nearly black purple of an eggplant, and the unexpected purple found in some varieties of cauliflower, carrots, and potatoes. The pigments responsible are called “anthocyanins,” and they also have a role to play in making a type of rice appear black in its raw state and purple after some time in the rice cooker. That black / purple rice is a key feature at Harumi Sushi in Downtown Phoenix. Continue reading “Harumi Sushi”

Yama Sushi House

Maybe there’s already a serious research study out there somewhere, but one question that’s interesting to ponder is what relationship, if any, there is between the size of a restaurant and the size of its menu. A food cart that sells only two or three items makes sense. So does a banquet hall with an expansive menu. On the other hand, a large restaurant that serves a small menu suggests mass production rather than craft. What about the opposite: a small restaurant with an unexpectedly large menu? In the case of Yama Sushi House, the combination actually works. Continue reading “Yama Sushi House”

Moira Sushi Bar & Kitchen

The word “Moira,” at least as a given name for a person, is derived from a Greek word meaning “fate” or “destiny.” It’s not clear if Moira Sushi Bar and Kitchen, a Japanese restaurant in the Evans Churchill neighborhood of Downtown Phoenix, has any link to that Mediterranean lineage. Nevertheless, the name is fitting because Moira has been a harbinger of what is now occurring all around it. When the restaurant opened in 2009, it felt lonely, occupying the ground floor of the 215 East McKinley condominium building with vacant lots on surrounding blocks in every direction. Continue reading “Moira Sushi Bar & Kitchen”

Squid Ink Sushi Bar

A year ago, McDonald’s unveiled an unusual item at its restaurants in Japan: a squid ink burger. The hamburger itself was all beef, no cephalopod, but the bun was given a dark color by squid ink. While some Italian and Japanese dishes may have a slight taste of the sea when colored with the substance, squid ink is often used primarily for its coloring effect. At CityScape in Downtown Phoenix, Squid Ink Sushi is as colorful as its name might suggest with a vibrant array of fresh sashimi and sushi, cooked items from the kitchen, and cocktails from the bar.

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Sushi 101

Sushi seems to be one of the most polarizing foods around. Some people genuinely love it, some people eat it because they think it’s cool to do so, and others find the idea of uncooked fish repulsive. Even among those who enjoy sushi, there are still factions. At one end are fans of various see-and-be-seen places, many of them chains. At other end of the spectrum are those who are so convinced that everyone should eat the purest, most authentic Japanese food that they shun rolls and sake bombers in favor of omakase at every meal.

mackerel sashimi

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