Sunday, October 08, 2006
A Fun Way to Get Hungry for Sushi
Happy birthday to me. Margy and I came up with a grand, blissfully elemental plan to celebrate my special day: We would look at sea creatures, and then we would eat sea creatures.
So we drove down to Camden on this gorgeous afternoon and spent a few hours at the aquarium, gazing at the seahorses, the seals, the sharks, the hippos. Yes, the hippos, Camden's aces in the hole. I'm not sure I'd ever hung out with hippos before, but I think I would remember if I had. Two enormous specimens live at the aquarium, and they're something to behold. You can watch them underwater through what must be very thick glass. The water is beyond murky and you think you'll never be able to see a thing, but then this massive gray blob begins to float by and come into focus, and what do you know -- it's a hippopotamus! Their skin looks like elephant hide, all wrinkled folds, and they seem positively prehistoric. And of course they're very charismatic. One of them played with a huge blue ball -- slowly -- for a few minutes right in front of us. I recommend paying them a visit if you're even in the Camden/Philly area. Tell them Margy and I say hi.
After hanging out with all these fish and the like, we figured it was time to eat some. I had found two good sushi joints in that area months ago, so tonight we made a reservation at Sagami, a great little place that's set, like most Jersey sushi restaurants, on a fast-moving stretch of commercial highway. Once you're inside, though, the setting is very serene and charming, and the kimono-dressed servers make you feel comfortable.
The sushi is simple and fresh, and Sagami makes the greatest fried oysters I've ever had. You can practically see how crunchy they are. They're dressed with tangy tonkatsu sauce, and after the initial crunch they explode with the juicy, creamy, briny essence of oyster. I could have eaten four orders myself, and I wouldn't have even needed a birthday cake. Just stick a candle in an oyster, and let's party.