Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let Me Be Your Sushi Roll


I don't normally do restaurant reviews, but I've decided to make an exception if the experience is multiply orgasmic. I'm telling you, by the end of the meal, I was fantasizing about taking off all of my clothes and rolling around on the sushi bar for the men in white hats.

Mon Jin Lau.

It is my favorite restaurant, hands down. Tongue out. Stomach distended. And don't pronounce it Mon Jin Lau. Say it as if it were French: " Mo' Schzinn Lao." No, that isn't the way it's pronounced. But I love the restaurant almost as much as I love the French.

Mon Jin Lau is a swanky Pan-Asian restaurant and bar. It's pretty, it's sleek, it's cosmopolitan. It has its share of normal folks at tables, and the club freaks at the bar. Yes, lots of plastic surgery, slicked back hair and cologne lingering there, but get a table. You're going to need a lot of room.

Pinot Grigio to start. I love Pinot Grigio, but particularly with Asian food. Though I had an amazing cold saki (Pearl?) at the Bellagio when I was in Vegas. So good it made me want to bite something.

Enter: Scallion Pancakes.

Scallion Pancakes! They are like Chinese potato latkes. Oy! They are so good they make me verklempt-san. Moist potato pancakes with scallions, golden crispy on the outside, comfort food on the inside. Then: The sauce. Oh, it's a minxy sauce. It's soy with scallions in it, and if it were socially acceptable, I would throw that ramekin down my gullet like a red headed slut.

Yes, that good.

I smear the soy scallion mix over the scallion potato and I try not to grab it in my hands and shove it in my face. I try not to linger too long on the fantasy of grabbing the potato pancake in my fists and rubbing it all over my face, leaving a greasy, soy-covered film all over my cheekbones, nose, chin. Forehead even.

Yes, they are forehead good.

Commence ordering vast amounts of sushi.

What the hell is not to like about sushi? Have a mild case of OCD? This is your food, people! It's small, it's compact, it's neat. Need something to do with your hands when you're not shoving a cigarette or tropical orange Trident into your mouth by the packageful?

Chopsticks!

Oh, Chopstick joy! Sticky sticky chop chop! I've been a master of wielding the chopsticks since I was eight years old and my mother went on a tour of Asia. She brought me a vast chopstick collection: red lacquer chopsticks from China, sterling silver chopsticks from Korea, long white chopsticks from Japan, green chopsticks hand-painted with flowers from Hong Kong.

I did nothing but eat with chopsticks for the next three months.

I refused to do anything sans chopsticks. They became extensions of my already chopstick-like fingers. I'd move the Scrabble pieces with my chopsticks, I'd scratch my back with the chopsticks, I'd feed the dog kibble with my chopsticks. I'd jam the chopsticks in my dirty tomboy hair.

I can conduct orchestras, knit, type, tweeze, change diapers and play the violin with chopsticks. Those instruments were made for the OCD set. So with sushi, you've got the small, compact food, you've got the fancy sticks to preoccupy neurotic fingers, you've got the itsy-bitsy soy sauce dish.

I have dozens of those little dishes in my kitchen cabinets. I went to Japan and bought dozens of little dishes. Little sauce dishes. Tiny little service trays. I am obsessed with tiny, orderly things. I love the routine of pouring the soy sauce in the lilliputian dish. I like to hold my finger over one end of the soy sauce bottle, I like to tilt it tantalizingly over the dish rectangular, release my finger, and watch it pour, tiny stream, into a wee green dish.

Oh joy. Oh bliss.

Now enter the:

WASABI!

Say it fast.

WASABI!

Say it fast and do a Bruce Lee kung-fu move. Wasabi! Did you feel the joy in your heart? Yes, I suspected as much.

I like to scoop a big slab of wasabi onto my chopstick, and then drop it in the pool of soy. Begin to stir gently. Let the wasabi slowly immerse itself into the soy. Let it begin to break down. Now stir it more briskly with the chopstick. Don't leave clumps. Clumps will make your nose run at an inopportune moment. Keep stirring. Keep stirring. Add more wasabi. It's not enough until your soy is thick and light brown.

Pick up the sushi with long, slender chopsticks. Dip sushi rolls into the wasabified soy sauce, in the koi pond green dish. Watch the soy soak into the white rice.

Commence cramming perfect rolls of sushi into your sushi-hole.

That's it. You shove the whole thing in your mouth. No messy bites to take, no dribbling down your chin, no losing bits of food to the floor. You can pop those little seaweed-wrapped suckers right into your mouth and chew.

California Roll. Ooooh, the west coast meets the East. The soft suprise of avocado!

New York Roll. Smoked salmon and cream cheese! Creamy, smoky goodness.

Tuna Roll. Don't fuck with tuna. Don't make it spicy. Don't mix it with some creamy pink sauce. Take it straight! It's tuna for god's sake! Fish of the gods! Don't sully perfection!

My girlfriend ordered some surprising sushi special. I usually avoid the "specials" because they often feature little creature's legs thrusting out of the roll, looking like they might grab your face. It freaks me out. Decidedly not for the OCD set. This special had some messy looking red fish on the outside of the sushi role (mildly panic-inducing) but in the center, in the warm center, it had a heart of tempura.

Tempura!

That hint of crunch. The surprising warmth. In your mouth. Gah! *Insert food orgasm here.*

Mon Jin Lau. You are my favorite restaurant. Last night I went to sleep, and dreamt dreams of my body, encased in seaweed paper, while you grabbed me with your chopsticks, and dipped me in wasabi joy.



Mon Jin Lau is located at 1515 E. Maple Road in Troy, Michigan. 48084.

Phone: 248.689.2332.




Friday, December 19, 2008

I Want to Spray You All Over

People say our love is wrong. They tell me I'm too dependent on you, that this love is crazy. But they don't understand how I feel about you. They don't know the way you make me feel. Where are these naysayers when I've got the jitters and I'm not feeling right? They're not there to soothe me, they're not there to make it alright.

Nobody but you, lover. No one else will do.

I stare into your sapphire stillness and when the light hits you just so it's like an Adriatic dream set in azure flames oh my lovely. My lovely, lovely, liquid-blue lover. They don't know you the way I do.

If I could take you, hold you in my hands, and spray the world with you, I would dear. You know it's true. I would spread the world with your love, and you'd leave the world a better place in the way only you can do. You take the weary, the begrimed, the downtrodden and besmirched, and you dissolve all the ugliness away. What was once brutish and dumb, is born-again at your touch. You take my overcast view and rinse it anew the world is awash with light shining through my despair. You make me believe again.

I believe I can baptize all the sins of yesterday away, and even a filthy sinner like me can begin again.

You have restored my faith, aquaean lover.

Oh, I've tried others. Pretenders. Pale shadows. None are so true, none smell quite right. I'm sorry for those moments of weakness I was captivated for the moment by a cheap imitation, I admit it. Their acrid stench followed me wherever I went and I knew it was wrong. Oh it felt wrong. They left me feeling dirty, like a film of sin remained wherever they touched.

There will never be another, you know it's true. You make the anxieties and worries go away you make our home a shelter.

I love you, Mr. Cerulean, ultramarine lover. Blue like the blue of foreign seas, blue like the summer skies of childhood, blue like the blue of heaven. Blue speaks to me of truth and beauty, there is no other color for you.

If I could, I would spray the world with you.

If I could, I would spray you all over me, baptizing myself, leaving behind a squeaky clean soul, a reflective heart and a streak-free mind.

You are the Original, Windex. I want to name my babies after you. Babies with lapis lazuli eyes.

Brillo Sin Rayas! Brillo Sin Rayas!

I hear you whisper in my dreams.



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Going Full Frontal In India

I'd only ever had one massage before in my life. A pool-side massage in Miami.

With my bathing suit on, you see.

I'd only been in India two days and already I was not feeling well at all. I either had the remnants or beginnings of a cold OR my respiratory system had been so clogged up by Delhi's pollution in 48-short hours that I couldn't breathe and all my joints ached from the carbon monoxide build up in my blood.

Besides, my half-breed Indian friend told me that massages were dirt cheap in India. She said she got one every day she was here. So I booked one. I tried to talk The Boyfriend into getting one too, but he hemmed and hawed and wasn't sure.

"How about I go first and then report back to you?" I suggested.

"Perfect," he agreed.

We both have touch-issues and stranger-danger alerts in our brains, so it was probably best I sally forth. Besides, The Boyfriend's germ phobia was on high alert and I had no idea what an Indian massage parlor would hold in store for him.

"How much should I tip the massage lady?" I asked before I left.

"50 rupees," he replied.

"That's like 75 cents!"

"It's what I read is appropriate," he reminded me.

"Yeah, but you pissed off the airport chauffeur with that nonsense!"

"50 rupees," he repeated. I left but grabbed my wallet just in case.

The salon was appropriately swanky for a five-star hotel in a one-star country. Everyone smiled and nodded sweetly, and I was escorted to a plump, middle-aged woman with a beatific face and a bindi.

She took me to a small, dark room with a massage table and a pot of warming almond oil. 

"Yes, please," she indicated a folded towel resting on the table.

"Should I take off my clothes?"

"Yes, please."

"All of my clothes?"

"Yes, please," she nodded encouragingly. Then she quietly stepped out of the room.

I wondered if she meant my underpants too. I mean, "clothes" could mean "outerwear" in Hindi. What if I removed all of my clothes including my underpants and she thought I was some sort of Western whore?

I removed all of my clothes and quickly dove under the large towel. I laid there in the semi-darkness and stared at the ceiling. I could hear some sort of workers outside the window next to me. I wondered if Indian women shaved their pubic areas, or if they went full-bush?

After a polite knock at the door, my masseuse returned and quickly set about rubbing the warm oil on her hands. The room was suddenly filled with its sweet scent, and I relaxed. She politely folded the towel up over my calves and proceeded to rub the oil onto my feet and legs.

"Tsk tsk," she said. "Very dry."

"Yes, I know," I replied, apologetically. I closed my eyes wondered how much almond oil my skin would absorb? I was quite certain that little pot wouldn't make it past my knees.

Next she folded the towel again, this time exposing my thighs. I was surprised by how sore my legs were from being folded up like a patio chair on a plane for 16 hours. She folded the towel again, this time just barely covering my ladyparts.

I began to grow uncomfortable.

As she took huge swooping strokes on my upper thighs, my body froze in horror as her fingers grazed me ... there. Oh yes. There. I quickly began to wonder if I was in a "Happy Ending" situation, and wondered if a) would she ask me first and b) would it cost extra?

The matriarchal masseuse kept away at her business-like massaging of my thighs, with the occasional grazing of my, er, privates. (They're called "Private" for a reason, dammit!) I was actually relieved when she gently removed the entire towel from my person and moved on to my torso.

For some reason she covered my face with the towel.

So I lay there, buck naked, save for my face, while a middle-aged woman massaged my breasts. Having not had any massage experience aside from the pool-side, bathing-suit-clad massage, I did not know whether or not this was normal. In fact, I still don't. My arms and legs were stock straight, rigid as a corpse in the freshly fallen Detroit snow. As my masseuse slowly reached down my arms and took huge sweeping strokes up my arms, her breasts would lower and raise over my face, as the top of my head was cradled in her ample belly.

Despite all this, I began to relax. The warm room, the smell of almonds, the steady and consistent pressure of her rubbing all of the tensions and worries out of my body, I began to feel as though I was a naked embryo rocking in my mother's womb.

"Yes, please, mum" my masseuse whispered to me, and I opened one reptilian eye to see what she wanted. She held her hand out and indicated that I should rollover.

Great.

So I rolled over and exposed my white, pilates-free ass to the lesbian-suspect masseuse. Oh she rubbed my thighs, my upper thighs, my ass, my entire ass, yes she rubbed it all. She rubbed it all and I lay there naked as the day I was born, without even a towel to cover my shame-ridden face.

She rubbed it all and I liked it.

When it was over she invited me to enter a shower. I rose, naked and oily, and walked into the waiting shower. I allowed her to adjust the water temperature for me. Yes, I stood naked in a shower with another woman. I'd like to tell you I let her soap me down for the benefit of my story, but alas, she did not.

When I went to sign for the bill, I thrust a fistful of Indian rupees at my masseuse. She bowed and said thank you, mum. It wasn't the 50 rupees The Boyfriend had suggested, but more like the 500 rupees I felt was appropriate after such an intimate encounter.

Of course when I went back to the room and calculated how much 500 rupees was worth in American currency, I was embarrassed to see it was only ten dollars.

Then again, I never did get that Happy Ending.

I DID get to warn The Boyfriend, however. I knew there was no way he was putting his bare ass in the hands of a stranger, that's for sure. Then again, perhaps the promise of a Happy Ending would have swayed him?

Nah.